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more than a year of world war to pass without taking any essential step toward better military preparedness.
There is no valid argument against reasonable military preparedness. The antipreparationists try hopelessly to defend their theories, but though eternally routed from position after position, they ever refuse to surrender to reason. As a rule they begin their argument by maintaining. that arbitration is the never-failing panacea. When driven from that untenable ground, they retreat, crying that our "mighty" navy could easily prevent any hostile army from landing on our shores. When a score of facts are pointed out to them, such as that we are constructing torpedoes at a rate that would allow each tube in our navy to fire only one torpedo every six months, and that Great Britain can reproduce the duplicate of our entire fleet once every year, they promptly retreat to their next position: they maintain that our country is too big to be conquered, neglecting the patent fact that our very immensity makes us the more vulnerable to attacks and raids. It is probable that few of us realize how large our country really is. How many know that California is more than three times as big as England, or that Wyoming and Colorado are together as large as the German Empire? How many realize that the United States is nearly as large as the entire continent of Europe, as the accompanying map will show? Consider what Germany might have accomplished with her unexpected offensive of 1914, if instead of the narrow boundaries of France, Belgium, and Switzerland to choose from, she had had the entire contour of Europe or of America from which to select a point of attack.
Let us, however, meet the anti-preparationists upon their own ground. They point with pride to the immensity of the United States, and remark cheerfully that mere size would prevent its subjection. I used to argue in that way myself until February, 1915. I then tried it in discussion with a responsible staff officer of one of the great European powers. Af
ter a moment's hesitation, he said in his slow, accented English:
"It is true that your country is very large; but its heart is very small and very vulnerable, and you must remember, my friend, that in nations, as in individuals, the body falls if the heart is struck. Let us get a map; I will show you," he then added.
An atlas was brought, and he pointed out to me the vulnerable breast of my country. He, a foreigner, who had never seen America, instructed me in the political geography of my own native land. He drew a line from the north of Chesapeake Bay up the Potomac to its upper reaches and from there along the foot of the Alleghanies, through Gettysburg, to Harrisburg, on the Susquehanna, and along that river to a point near Scranton. From there he skirted the foot of the Catskills through Sullivan County to Kingston, and thence passed rapidly along that river and Lake George and Lake Champlain to Canada.
This marks out the first great continuous natural line of defense which exists in the eastern part of our country. It is six hundred miles in length, being about as long as the battle-line now drawn across France from the North Sea to the Alps. But the present battle-front in western Europe lies entirely across featureless country except for the short stretch along the "river" Aisne, a stream which any self-respecting American farmer would call a "crick." It has been necessary to construct trenches that amount almost to siege fortifications along every foot of its length. By contrast the dead-line across the Northeastern States comprises only 215 miles of land, while the remaining 385 miles follow such effective natural barriers as the Potomac, Susquehanna, and Hudson rivers, and Lake George and Lake Champlain, none of which can well be classified as creeks. Such a line, once occupied, could easily be held by 400,000 German, British, or French troops against any army in the world. If an enemy landed at various points along the coast, he could defeat the
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 immediately oppose to him, and, having defeated them, immediately advance to this dead-line. Once established there, can it be doubted that he could hold it against that mythical one million men who Mr. Bryan declares would spring to arms between sunrise and sunset? The best result that unprepared America could hope to achieve would be a guerilla warfare in the fastnesses of the Alleghanies, the Catskills, and the Adirondacks, which might bring disaster to the enemy's daring cavalry raids against Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and intermediate points.
The territory of the United States lying to the east of the dead-line is about one half of the area which Germany now holds in Russia. It comprises only about 100,000 square miles, or less than half the total area of France. It is only three per cent. of the whole United States. It is not nearly as large as the single State of Montana. With the enemy holding the dead-line, the country east of it would. become a second Belgium, wherein the slightest resistance or insubordination on the part of individual men would result in the visitation of dire reprisals upon entire communities.
Although this eastern region is in area only three per cent. of the United States, it is verily the heart of our country, for it contains nearly all the factories which might be converted into munition-producers, the principal navy-yards, and the war colleges; the headquarters of our general staffs; the capitals of the States of Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania; the executive centers of all our great industries; New York City, the richest in the world; Washington, the capital of our country, containing all the machinery of national government; half the wealth of the country; and twenty-five million people.
If this heart of America should be seized by an invader, the plight of the nation as a whole would be desperate. The paralyzation of its industries and its gov
ernment would be beyond the wildest imaginings of the most sensational alarmist. Within a week the country would revert to the conditions of its pioneer days, when every man was fully and completely occupied in the struggle to provide lifesustaining food for his family and himself. The fugitive President would be the only remaining vestige of government; from his refuge in St. Louis or thereabouts he would be forced to make peace on any terms and at any price, just as the Government of France, when in 1871 it replaced the deposed and dishonored Napoleon III, was compelled to buy peace on the enemy's own terms in order to free Paris and northern France from the German armies that had caught her off-guard and unprepared. Our country could be forced to pay an indemnity large enough to refill the greatest war-chest or to finance two or three European wars. In addition, it would be plundered of Alaska's lumber and gold, of Mexico's minerals, and of Panama, Hawaii, and Cuba, the political and commercial keys of the Western Hemisphere. Verily the grinning thug would have made a rich and rapid haul from the fat, defenseless heir of virile fighting grandparents. His victim would. have had no time for argument. A speedy peace would be necessary not merely to redeem a hundred cities and twenty-two billion dollars' worth of property, but in order to liberate 25,000,000 hostages, cut off by the invading army from their accustomed food-supply. The inhabitants of the second Belgium would have had no time to escape in the terrible disorder and congestion which always accompany invasion, a confusion which would be increased through the destruction of crucial bridges and tunnels by the enemy's spies and raiders. When in the autumn of 1914 the Teutons approached Paris, all the common carriers running out of the city became so disorganized that although France as a country was splendidly prepared for war, the only means of escape left to the masses was to travel on foot.
Driven from their contention that America is too big to be conquered, the