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more than a year of world war to pass ter a moment's hesitation, he said in his without taking any essential step toward slow, accented English: better military preparedness.
“It is true that your country is very There is no valid argument against rea- large; but its heart is very small and very sonable military preparedness. The anti- vulnerable, and you must remember, my preparationists try hopelessly to defend friend, that in nations, as in individuals, their theories, but though eternally routed the body falls if the heart is struck. Let from position after position, they ever re- us get a map; I will show you,” he then fuse to surrender to reason. As a rule
added. they begin their argument by maintaining An atlas was brought, and he pointed that arbitration is the never failing pana- out to me the vulnerable breast of my cea.
When driven from that untenable country. He, a foreigner, who had never ground, they retreat, crying that our seen America, instructed me in the politi"mighty" navy could easily prevent any cal geography of my own native land. He hostile army from landing on our shores. drew a line from the north of Chesapeake When a score of facts are pointed out to Bay up the Potomac to its upper reaches them, such as that we are constructing tor- and from there along the foot of the Allepedoes at a rate that would allow each ghanies, through Gettysburg, to Harristube in our navy to fire only one torpedo burg, on the Susquehanna, and along that every six months, and that Great Britain river to a point near Scranton. From can reproduce the duplicate of our entire there he skirted the foot of the Catskills fleet once every year, they promptly re- through Sullivan County to Kingston, and treat to their next position: they maintain thence passed rapidly along that river and that our country is too big to be con- Lake George and Lake Champlain to quered, neglecting the patent fact that Canada. our very immensity makes us the more This marks out the first great continuvulnerable to attacks and raids. It is ous natural line of defense which exists probable that few of us realize how large in the eastern part of our country. It is our country really is. How many know six hundred miles in length, being about that California is more than three times as long as the battle-line now drawn as big as England, or that Wyoming and across France from the North Sea to the Colorado are together as large as the Ger- Alps. But the present battle-front in man Empire? How many realize that the western Europe lies entirely across feaUnited States is nearly as large as the en- tureless country except for the short tire continent of Europe, as the accom- stretch along the “river” Aisne, a stream panying map will show ? Consider what which any self-respecting American farGermany might have accomplished with mer would call a "crick.” It has been her unexpected offensive of 1914, if in- necessary
construct trenches that stead of the narrow boundaries of France, amount almost to siege fortifications along Belgium, and Switzerland to choose from, every foot of its length. By contrast the she had had the entire contour of Europe dead-line across the Northeastern States or of America from which to select a point comprises only 215 miles of land, while of attack.
the remaining 385 miles follow such effecLet us, however, meet the anti-prepara- tive natural barriers as the Potomac, Sustionists upon their own ground. They quehanna, and Hudson rivers, and Lake point with pride to the immensity of George and Lake Champlain, none of the United States, and remark cheerfully which can well be classified as creeks. that mere size would prevent its subjec- Such a line, once occupied, could easily be tion. I used to argue in that way myself held by 400,000 German, British, or until February, 1915. I then tried it in French troops against any army in the discussion with a responsible staff officer world, If an enemy landed at various of one of the great European powers. Af- points along the coast, he could defeat the
Comparative map of Europe and the United States
New York Philadelphia ltimore
Boundary of United States...
more than a year of world war to pa without taking any essential step tower better military preparedness.
There is no valid argument against 1sonable military preparedness. The a preparationists try hopelessly to do.. their theories, but though eternally ro from position after position, they ever fuse to surrender to reason. As a they begin their argument by mainta that arbitration is the never-failing; When driven from that unt ground, they retreat, crying that "mighty" navy could easily prever * hostile army from landing on our s' When a score of facts are pointed o them, such as that we are constructir pedoes at a rate that would allow tube in our navy to fire only one to every six months, and that Great Br can reproduce the duplicate of our er Reet once every year, they promptl. treat to their next position: they main that our country is too big to be quered, neglecting the patent fact our very immensity makes us the n vulnerable to attacks and raids. 1: probable that few of us realize how !... our country really is. How many k. that California is more than three t as big as England, or that Wyoming a Colorado are together as large as the G man Empire? How mam realize that t United States is nearly as large as the e tire continent of Furope, as the acco panying map will show? Consider wi Germany might have accomplished wit her unexpected offensive of 1914, if in stead of the narrow boundaries of France, Belgium, and Switzerland to choose from she had had the entire contour of Europe o; of America from which to select a point of stand.
ists, disregarding the fact ss is not a temporary issue, when the present war is as of Europe will be exerefore of necessity harmis not true. The preceThe prece V prove the exact reverse to ons are never so strong mortically, and their armies are ctive, as immediately follownflict. "Practice makes perece was never stronger than and Salamis, nor Rome than cond Carthaginian War. The is were politically most powertermination of forty years of with Spain, during which they he receiving end of nearly every 1862, France dared to disregard roe Doctrine and invade Mexico et her citizens from persecution by sponsible savages who inhabit that
. In 1865 she meekly agreed to n Mexico and Maximilian, for Napoleon III had no wish to try sions with the veteran army that ed down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1865. A nation may begin a war e million men, and a year later ve lost one million of them, but 10 million of the survivors could
probably defeat the entire unseasoned five millions of the year previous. At the end of a long war a nation's credit is poor, but this is not vital. It means only what it says. It means that big prices must be paid for loans. It does not necessarily mean that no loans whatever can be obtained.
Driven from this last position, the few remaining anti-preparationists announce that they would not defend even their ideals and their conception of right by force of arms. They advocate immediate and complete surrender in case of attack, a well-intentioned perversion of the turnthe-other-cheek principle. This willingness to be a part of a nation's martyrdom, while it may suggest a kind of passive courage, is largely born of a lack of imagination, an utter inability to picture the fruits of such a policy, and is woefully inconsistent with the laws of our domestic life and of the workings of our National Government. It is a position which is swept by cross-fires from nearly every side. The Germans hesitated to shoot down the Russians they had surrounded in the quagmires of the Mazurian Lakes. Even so one hesitates to train one's mental artillery upon people whose illusions have already rendered them helpless.
la the December number of THE CENTURY, Mr. Wood will explain the quirements of the United States in the matter of preparedness exactly these have been stated to him by America's qualified military experts.)
feeble forces which America could imme- ernment would be beyond the wildest diately oppose to him, and, having de- imaginings of the most sensational alarmfeated them, immediately advance to this ist. Within a week the country would redead-line. Once established there, can it vert to the conditions of its pioneer days, be doubted that he could hold it against when every man was fully and completely that mythical one million men who Mr. occupied in the struggle to provide lifeBryan declares would spring to arms be- sustaining food for his family and himself. tween sunrise and sunset? The best re- The fugitive President would be the only sult that unprepared America could hope remaining vestige of government; from to achieve would be a guerilla warfare in his refuge in St. Louis or thereabouts he the fastnesses of the Alleghanies, the Cats- would be forced to make peace on any kills, and the Adirondacks, which might terms and at any price, just as the Govbring disaster to the enemy's daring cav- ernment of France, when in 1871 it realry raids against Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and placed the deposed and dishonored Napointermediate points.
leon III, was compelled to buy peace on The territory of the United States ly- the enemy's own terms in order to free ing to the east of the dead-line is about Paris and northern France from the Gerone half of the area which Germany now man armies that had caught her off-guard holds in Russia. It comprises only about and unprepared. Our country could be 100,000 square miles, or less than half
forced to pay an indemnity large enough the total area of France. It is only three to refill the greatest war-chest or to finance per cent. of the whole United States. two or three European wars. In addiIt is not nearly as large as the single State tion, it would be plundered of Alaska's of Montana. With the enemy holding lumber and gold, of Mexico's minerals, the dead-line, the country east of it would and of Panama, Hawaii, and Cuba, the become a second Belgium, wherein the political and commercial keys of the Westslightest resistance or insubordination on ern Hemisphere. Verily the grinning the part of individual men would result in thug would have made a rich and rapid the visitation of dire reprisals upon entire haul from the fat, defenseless heir of virile communities.
fighting grandparents. His victim would Although this eastern region is in area have had no time for argument. A speedy only three per cent. of the United States, peace would be necessary not merely to it is verily the heart of our country, for it redeem a hundred cities and twenty-two contains nearly all the factories which billion dollars' worth of property, but in might be converted into munition-pro- order to liberate 25,000,000 hostages, cut ducers, the principal navy-yards, and the off by the invading army from their accuswar colleges; the headquarters of our gen- tomed food-supply. The inhabitants of eral staffs; the capitals of the States of the second Belgium would have had no Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Is- time to escape in the terrible disorder and land, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, congestion which always accompany inNew York, New Jersey, Maryland, Dela- vasion, a confusion which would be inware, and Pennsylvania; the executive creased through the destruction of crucial centers of all our great industries; New bridges and tunnels by the enemy's spies York City, the richest in the world; and raiders. When in the autumn of Washington, the capital of our country, 1914 the Teutons approached Paris, all containing all the machinery of national the common carriers running out of the government; half the wealth of the coun- city became so disorganized that although try; and twenty-five million people. France as a country was splendidly pre
If this heart of America should be pared for war, the only means of escape seized by an invader, the plight of the na- left to the masses was to travel on foot. tion as a whole would be desperate. The Driven from their contention that paralyzation of its industries and its gov- America is too big to be conquered, the