Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

communications and arsenals from attack incidently with his other studies, so that by spies and agents and to perform trans- he reaches the age of nineteen a trained port and base-line duties.

Thus we ar

soldier. His military education is imrive at a minimum total of at least 2,500,- parted to him at the most acquisitive age, 000 men necessary to defend us against and does not interfere with his later prothe attack of a single great nation, or ductive industrial occupations. When he an army which would be ranked eighth reaches the age of nineteen he is enrolled in size among the armies of the world. as a soldier in the battalion of the region

It is manifestly undesirable that we in which he lives. From that time he is should ever attempt to maintain a stand- in active service for two weeks of every ing army of this size. The objections year, practice which is intended to keep which Americans have to great standing fresh in mind his military knowledge. He armies like those of Germany and Russia remains an active member of the batare well founded. How, then, can we talion for eight years, until he reaches the ever be prepared to mobilize the needed age of twenty-seven, and throughout that number of trained and disciplined troops period he is at all times liable for service in so short a time? In answer to this in defense of his country. He cannot, question, our military experts unanimously however, be sent out of Australia unless advocate the adoption of a system of uni- he expressly volunteers for foreign service. versal compulsory military service based The Australian army unit is a battalion upon and largely copied from the Swiss of one thousand men. The country is system and its counterpart in Australia. therefore divided into units of population These offer us for adoption not an experi- each of which contains approximately one ment, but a tried and adequately tested thousand young men between the ages of method of national defense.

nineteen and twenty-seven. The underlying ideas of the German In Switzerland the young men, after standing army and of the Swiss military having undergone this preliminary trainsystem are diametrically opposed. Mili- ing in school, join their regiments in their tarism in the extreme type is overbearing, twentieth year, and during the summer of aggressive, and brutal. The patriotism it that year undergo two months of continufosters is two-faced, for it inculcates ous, intensive military instruction. For hatred of neighboring nations quite as twelve years thereafter they are at all much as love of one's own country. In times liable for immediate service in deextreme cases it develops a patriotism gone fense of their country. During each of mad, while it makes aggression easy and these years they perform two weeks' traineven necessary.

By contrast the Swiss ing in the field. and Australian systems make no prepara- The system recommended by American tion for aggressive warfare, and therefore experts for adoption by their country do not hold up before the minds of the would begin with the training of all boys young any ambition for conflict beyond between the ages of twelve and eighteen their own borders or for the conquest of in gymnastics, hygiene, ihe manual of their neighbors. Adequate preparation for arms, rifle practice, and platoon and comself-defense curtails aggression, and brings

pany formations.

In the summer of his nearer and nearer the possibility of com- nineteenth year every boy would be asbined international action to curb trucu- signed to his regiment and begin his active lent nations and to civilize barbaric races. service, with two months of intensive

In the Australian system, military sci- training in battalion, regimental, and brience and gymnastics, taught by competent gade maneuvers, and afterward be enofficial instructors, form a compulsory part rolled for service in his regiment for four of the education of every boy between the years until he is twenty-three, his service ages of twelve and eighteen; during those in time of peace being limited to two years he undergoes military instruction co- weeks spent in camp every summer. At

case

war.

twenty-three the young man would be tors, and engineers; to a certain amount mustered out of his regiment and placed of infantry, cavalry, and field-artillery for in the reserve, from which he could be

foreign garrison duty in Alaska, the Philcalled to active service only in case of ippines, Hawaii, and the Panama Canal dire need. This system would eventually Zone, and for manning in part our coast furnish the United States with an active defenses ; to a number of line-officers sufarmy of 2,500,000 men under twenty-four ficient to supervise the training in our years

of
age,

and with a reserve of nearly schools and to maintain the reserve muni8,000,000 trained soldiers between the tions; and to certain highly trained crack ages of twenty-four and forty-five who regiments, especially of mountain, siege, could be called

upon
in of a long and field artillery, by which the experi-

mental work necessary to determine the Military training and service would

proper standard of military efficiency be completely finished by all men before would be carried on. West Point, the they reached their twenty-fourth birthday, army service schools, the garrison regithus interfering as little as possible with ments, and the crack artillery regiments their productive life. In the event that would all be used as means of training war were thrust upon us, the casualties professional officers for staff appointments would be borne by men who for the most and for high commands in the national part had not yet acquired families or field forces. All the company officers and reached positions of great responsibility. a certain number of the field officers of

It should not be forgotten that the the line regiments would be civilians who adoption of a system of preparedness in had voluntarily undergone special trainno way increases the liability of the indi- ing and won promotion by marked ability. vidual to serve as a soldier in the event of In addition to their protective value, war. If we have a big war in the near such military systems yield educational and future, the draft will be instituted and economic benefits which at least equal their enforced, and our citizens will all have to defensive importance. The result most fight, whether they like it or not. Pre- generally obtained, and the one which paredness makes such an eventuality less would be of the greatest importance to the likely, and makes it improbable that if we United States, is the fostering of that do fight, we shall have to die in vain. sense of mutual responsibility which is

It will not be necessary for the United promoted between the state and the indiStates to institute new units of popula- vidual by such a constructive system of tion, since she already possesses such units universal military service. Even if there in her national congressional districts. were no need of national defense and no Every district could be called upon to fur- rumors of wars, the Swiss system would nish a mixed brigade composed of two

than

repay its cost to any nation regiments of infantry, two batteries of adopting it in the increased physical vigor field artillery, a squadron of cavalry, a and improved mentality of its citizens. It transport train, a signal-corps detachment, inculcates promptness, obedience, exactness, a company of engineers, and a field-hos- self-control, and truthfulness. It teaches pital. Certain Western districts would discipline, hygiene, and unity of action. It be called upon to support brigades com

tends to mold the heterogeneous elements posed of cavalry regiments and a battalion of a nation into homogeneity, a result of horse artillery.

sorely needed by the conglomeration of The brigades thus formed would be assorted nationalities assembled, but not organized into divisions, corps, and armies yet blended together, under the American under the supervision of the general staff flag. Her military system has made of at Washington, presided over by a military modern Switzerland a fearless and united secretary of war. The standing army

country, notwithstanding the fact that her would be limited to staff-officers, instruc- population is made up of French, Ger

more

mans, and Italians, speaking three lan- their civic life. It grows with their guages and acknowledging two religions. growth, they breathe it in with every

If such a system were adopted by the inspiration; as their country makes herself United States, every boy would be con- responsible for their well-being, they, in stantly under inspection by trained sur- return, feel responsibility for her safety geons and military experts. His physical and prosperity, and that it is the right weaknesses and mental defects would be and duty of every citizen to defend his considered and, as far as possible, reme- country; they learn that if the need arises, died. It is now well recognized that a they must even make the supreme sacrifice large proportion of the ineffective, crimi- of dying for it. It is a wholesome thought, nal, or insane members of society suffer which teaches them to make cheerfully the from physical defects that could so far be thousand smaller sacrifices of good citizenmodified during childhood as to make use- ship. ful citizens out of potentially dangerous If any one of us questions whether it is persons. Many defects which cannot be worth while to make the supreme sacrifice detected by superficial inspection become of dying for the ideals and the safety of very evident during military training, his native land, the best authority to accept which not only provides the instructors in answer to this question is the man who with an opportunity to study deficiencies, is actually making that sacrifice; as, for but furnishes also the means and time for instance, a mortally wounded soldier. It applying the remedies.

sometimes happens that fatally wounded Military training, outdoor life, and ex- men lie without pain and with clear minds pert supervision by men who understand for several hours before they die. They crude boyish impulses would do much realize their approaching fate with a certoward converting lawless energy into dis- tainty which comes only to men who feel ciplined power. The women of Australia that the very foundation of life has crumat first so strongly opposed the adoption of bled. They live a very long time in those compulsory military training that they re- last few hours. They review minutely tarded and nearly defeated its adoption, but their whole lives, weighing and considerwithin two years' time the wonders which ing. They are detached and unprejudiced, it had wrought in their boys converted as only men can be who have absolutely them into its most ardent advocates. nothing more either to gain or to lose.

One of the strongest arraignments of They can justly estimate what is of true our American civilization is the great value and what is not. number of inefficient, unmoral, or crimi- In France I have talked with many nal persons in whom the state takes no such men, have taken down their last interest unless they have been labeled pau- messages; have, in answer to their craving pers, idiots, or criminals. We make no for human companionship, sat by them effort to diminish by protective measures until they died. They were not philossuch wastefulness of a nation's best asset ophers, they were not officers, but only sim-its citizens. Another serious defect in ple soldiers who before the war had been our national life in America is the lack of clerks or farmers; and yet each and every loyalty for or sense of duty toward the one of them was filled with a sublime and Government. Europeans declare us to be radiant contentment because he was dying the most unpatriotic nation in the world. for his conception of right, for his patrie,

Military training rapidly develops civic for his ideals. consciousness. It teaches the young to

Their faces wore beatific smiles, and revere their flag. Their patriotism is kin- their eyes shone with a light of great hapdled at the susceptible age, and abides piness. Never again can one who has seen with them all their lives thereafter. It such heroic deaths ask himself that coward becomes no longer a phrase, a song, a mo- question, Is it worth while to make the sumentary emotion, but the mainspring of preme sacrifice in defense of one's ideals ?

Notes of an Artist at the Front

By WALTER HALE
War correspondent for THE CENTURY MAGAZINE with the armies of northern France

Illustrations by the author

Part I

TH

June 26, 1915. midway between the French and German HE whole beautiful Aisne valley lay positions, and was daily swept by a mur

spread out before us, vineyards and derous shell-fire. And the cathedral! But fields in the foreground, winding roads to the naked eye, from this distance, the with sentinel-like trees, wooded copses, damage done to it was negligible. The roof the glint of a stream, the landscape shim- was partly gone; except for this the gracemering in the June sunshine. Stretching ful outlines were unchanged. The towers

. from east to west, framed in by the trees and belfries still soared majestically above beneath the ridge, ran a long white line, the town, apparently undaunted by the broken in places where it disappeared be- engines of war now sweeping the wide yond a knoll—the French trenches. In expanse of the Aisne and Vesle valleys. the distance, extending across the whole Brought nearer under the field-glasses, we stage from one proscenium-arch to the could see plainly the great white blotch other, a second white scar marked the on the façade where the stone became calGerman positions on the Craonne Pla- cined by the flames that followed the first teau. The land beyond that second white bombardment by the Germans on the sevscar was also France—that part of manu- enteenth of last September. facturing and coal-bearing France that is We had some difficulty in getting closer now in the hands of the enemy. A puff to Rheims. There were four motors in of white smoke arose-shrapnel. A yel- our expedition, each with two drivers. low cloud showed where an explosive The chauffeurs were for going directly shell came in contact with something. down the hill and meeting the main road Other white puffs appeared farther away to the city below. They were ordered on the slope, but with no sound of firing. back by our staff-captain. The wind was behind us, and it was so “I am not responsible for you correquiet in the drowsy sunshine that we spondents,” he said, “but I must be carecould hear the hum of insect life in the ful of my own men.” garden.

That thought for the men was always We walked on a few yards, then looked uppermost. A sudden shower, as we slipped to the northwest. Rheims lay basking in through country byways, found only one of the sunlight, the twin towers of the cathe- the chauffeurs on our car with a raincoat. dral and the broken chimneys silhouetted The captain offered his own to the other. against the clear sky.

These drivers were very intelligent men, It was only yesterday, I thought, that attentive and respectful and exceedingly I had last driven my car from Metz west- solicitous about our welfare. A few days ward over that same white ribbon of road later, when our tournée was ending and to Rheims. Now the road lay almost we were about to take the train back to Paris, Owen Johnson, Arnold Bennett, gration. It is one of the wonders of the George Mair, and I discussed the advisa- world that Rheims Cathedral, desecrated, bility of making up a little purse in ap- shot at continually for months, preserves preciation of their kindness. We fortu- its majesty unimpaired, its towers rising nately took the precaution first to ask above the grass-grown cobbles of the our staff-captain about it. We hastily square serene and unconquerable. withdrew our hands from our pockets On one side of the place the Grandwhen we found that in peace times one

Hôtel has a hole in its second story big owned a factory employing 350 hands, enough to accommodate the traditional another was a book publisher in Paris, coach and four. The hotel awakened old a third managed a hotel on the Riviera. memories. I thought of it as I had known

We made a detour to avoid the exposed it in the early days of aviation, when Farportion of the road, then a short dash into man and Lorraine and Cockburn made it Rheims. Nearing the town gates we their quarters, and the courtyard echoed called on the brigade commander, a fine the explosions of the motors coming in at grizzled type like one of our old Indian- all hours from the flying-field of Bétheny. fighters, such as Lawton or Crook. His Now a ditch extends across the Ayingquarters were not imposing, the four bare field of Bétheny. In front of it are walls of a low-ceilinged office room, dingy barbed-wire entanglements and chevauxwindows; large scale-maps, plans, and offi- de-frise, and in its shadows are men in cial papers strewn over a table ; the clump Joffre blue, with rifles and hand-grenades, of the hobnailed boots of the sentries in who burrow farther into its depths when the hall outside and the tinkle of a tele- they hear the warning crackle of a shell phone bell in the adjoining room as re- from the direction of the Craonne Plaports came in from distant batteries rak- teau. ing the Aisne valley. The staff-captain On the other side of the place is the who took us in charge said that he had fol- Hôtel Lion-d'Or. Gone are its American lowed on the heels of the Germans when bar and the little French Canadian who they were driven out last September, and made the only worth-while cocktail in that on one occasion since over three thou- France outside of Paris. The windows sand shells had been fired into the city dur- are gaping holes, the shutters blown away. ing the short space of twenty-four hours. There is debris heaped up in the rooms

That was easy enough to understand and courtyard, and the walls are punconce we had reached the cathedral and tured with holes where the shells have the devastated district behind it. What ricochetted off the cobbled pavement. had appeared from a distance to be minor Back of the cathedral is a dreary waste: damage became real havoc on closer ac- houses gutted, outer walls swiped off as quaintance. On the splendid west front though a curtain had been raised in a the hundreds of little statues set in their theater showing the intimate interior--the niches are all damaged, some minus hands wall-paper of the different rooms, the

, and legs and arms, and others swept away broken rafters, fragments of beds and taentirely. The stained-glass of the great bles, fireplaces, bric-à-brac, and tattered rose-window is wrecked, many of the col- curtains blowing in the wind. The Rue umns supporting the smaller arches are de l'Université, the Rue des Cordeliers, twisted or cracked by the fierce heat, the the Rue Eugène Desteuque looked like the gargoyles shot off, and the splendid por- streets of Salem after the fire. In many tals, inside and out, so badly damaged cases the people insist on returning to that it is unlikely they can ever be re

their homes. One little old lady was stored.

calmly knitting in the broken doorway of The white scar that sweeps up the her house, though the corner of it was northwest tower tells better than words crushed back like the bow of an the graphic story of shell-fire and confla- steamship after a collision.

ocean

« AnkstesnisTęsti »