Puslapio vaizdai

met with general approval-which does not, of course, mean that there were no dissenting voices. The complete restoration of Northern France, of Belgium, and of Serbia, as inevitable results of the war, have long been assumed. His reference to Alsace-Lorraine, for the first time specifically mentioned by him, aroused real enthusiasm, although a newspaper discussion at once arose as to the proper method of righting the wrong of 1871. When on Feb. 11, President Wilson replied to Count Czernin and Count von Hertling, enumerating the four principles which he deemed essential to any further comparison of views between the two groups of belligerents, there was a distinct sense of disappointment, a feeling that the President had in some way backed down' from the position he had taken a month before. A careful comparison of the two documents does not appear to justify this view; if their order had been reversed, the fourteen specific objects of Jan. 8 would have seemed to be logically evolved from the four principles of Feb. 11.

However, it is undoubtedly true that the great majority of Americans were growing weary of the 'diplomatic offensive.' The negotiations of Brest-Litovsk and the German aggressions which followed silenced even the Socialists and Pacifists who had been clamouring for a 'peace by understanding.' The country, as a whole, was eager to put an end to further discussion of this sort and to proceed to vigorous action. Its education with respect to German peace intrigue had been effected. Thus it was that the President's address at Baltimore on April 6, the first anniversary of the declaration of war, called forth an instant and enthusiastic response.

'What, then, are we to do? For myself, I am ready, ready still, ready even now, to discuss a fair aud just and honest peace at any time that it is sincerely proposed-a peace in which the strong and the weak shall fare alike. But the answer, when I proposed such a peace, came from the German commanders in Russia, and I cannot mistake the meaning of the answer.

'I accept the challenge. I know that you accept it. All the world shall know that you accept it. It shall appear in the utter sacrifice and self-forgetfulness with which we shall give all that we love and all that we have to redeem the

world and make it fit for free men like ourselves to live in. This now is the meaning of all that we do. Let everything that we say, my fellow-countrymen, everything that we henceforth plan and accomplish, ring true to this response, till the majesty and might of our concerted power shall fill the thought and utterly defeat the force of those who flout and misprize what we honour and hold dear.

'Germany has once more said that force, and force alone, shall decide whether justice and peace shall reign in the affairs of men, whether right as America conceives it or dominion as she conceives it shall determine the destinies of mankind. There is, therefore, but one response possible from 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 education of Americans during the year has thus accomplished two major results. A fuller knowledge of German designs and ambitions has convinced them that they are fighting for their own future safety and wellbeing; and the exposure of the German peace intrigue has convinced them that this future safety and wellbeing can be secured only through a defeat of the military forces of the Central Powers. But these are not the only results. A year of contact with European problems has quickened American interest in the history and geography of Europe and the Near East. It is dawning on American consciousness that the question of who shall control Bagdad and the route thither has more than academic interest for the United States. The average American has not yet any very clear ideas about the Ukraine and the Jugo-Slavs, but he is beginning to seek information respecting them. A popular weekly magazine, the most widely read in America, has in recent numbers contained long and informing articles on such subjects as the German effort in Belgium to detach the Flemings from the Walloons, and the economic significance of control over Lorraine and the Longwy and Briey basins. In short, there are countless evidences that Americans are seriously endeavouring to become informed respecting the issues of the war, to learn something of their historical background, and to understand their economic and political significance.

The question is frequently put by English and French visitors: Are the Americans determined to see the war through to a victorious conclusion?' The best answer to this natural enquiry is to be found in the President's words at Baltimore, already quoted. The American prides himself on not being a 'quitter.' He is a stubborn fighter and cannot conceive of defeat. For the United States the war is just beginning; the first blow is yet to be struck. The country has not yet been tested, as have France and England; but the American is sure that, when the test comes, it will be endured without flinching. The most popular song of the training camps concludes with the refrain:

'And we won't come back
'Till it's over, over there.'

This is the sentiment of Americans in all sections of the country, east and west and centre, north and south. There can and must be no turning back, no slackening, no hesitation until the war is won.

A question much discussed in the opening weeks of 1917, when it became evident that the United States was about to enter the ranks of the belligerents, was the extent of American participation in the war. All such discussion came to an end when the President in his war message said:

[ocr errors]

'I advise that the Congress take immediate steps not only to put the country in a more thorough state of defence, but also to exert all its power and employ all its resources to bring the Government of the German Empire to terms and end the war.

'What this will involve is clear. It will involve the utmost practicable cooperation in counsel and action with the Governments now at war with Germany, and, as incident to that, the extension to those Governments of the most liberal financial credits, in order that our resources may so far as possible be added to theirs. It will involve the organisation and mobilisation of all the material resources of the country, to supply the materials of war and serve the incidental needs of the nation in the most abundant and yet the most economical and efficient way possible. It will involve the immediate full equipment of the Navy in all respects, but particularly in supplying it with the best means of dealing

with the enemy's submarines. It will involve the immediate addition to the armed forces of the United States, already provided for by law in case of war, of at least 500,000 men, who should, in my opinion, be chosen upon the principle of universal liability to service, and also the authorisation of subsequent additional increments of equal force so soon as they may be needed and can be handled in training. It will involve also, of course, the granting of adequate credits to the Government, sustained, I hope, so far as they can equitably be sustained by the present generation, by well-conceived taxation.'

The task before the United States was indeed gigantic. The naval forces were to be augmented from about 83,000 to 350,000 men; and the largest programme of construction in the history of the country was to be entered upon at once and pushed with the utmost speed. An army of approximately 202,000 men, including the National Guard of the various states, was to be increased to 1,500,000 men, with provision for further and practically unlimited increase. The 9500 officers of April, 1917, were to be increased to approximately 124,000 within a year; and the new officers had to be selected and trained within a few months, in order that they in turn might train the new army. Clothing and equipment were to be provided in such quantities that, for certain articles, the amount immediately required far exceeded the annual output of the entire country. Rifles, guns, and munitions were to be manufactured on a scale infinitely beyond the producing capacity of the existing arsenals. Cantonments and camps were to be erected, involving the construction, in three or four months, of over 22,000 separate buildings. An aviation service for both the army and navy was to be developed out of nothing, and furnished with aeroplanes which were to be produced by a non-existent industry. The ship-building industry, which had been turning out on an average about 500,000 tons dead weight per year, was to be expanded so that within two years it would be able to turn out 10,000,000 tons. At the same time, after a year of poor crops, with the food surplus nearly exhausted, and in face of a shrinkage of available labour, the agricultural product of the country was to be increased to the utmost, in an endeavour to meet the imperative necessities of the

Allies. The transportation system of the country, consisting of over four hundred separate lines, would have to be so operated as to satisfy rapidly and without confusion greatly enlarged demands to be made upon it from every direction. A labour supply, already depleted by emigration and the cessation of immigration, composed of the most heterogeneous elements (including a large number of enemy aliens) and insufficient as respects skilled workmen, was to be distributed over the country, in order to make possible the necessary industrial expansion. Finally, money for carrying out this extensive programme, and for loaning to the Allied Governments, would have to be raised, to the amount, estimated as necessary, of twenty billions of dollars (4,000,000,000l.).

At the end of the first year, how much of this task has been accomplished? The personnel of the Navy has been increased to 350,000 officers and men; the 300 vessels of all classes, which were in commission at the beginning of 1917, have been increased to 1345, and about 550 vessels will be added during 1918. Soon after the declaration of war, the United States assumed the patrol of the western Atlantic; and destroyers and other vessels, reported now to number about 150, were practically incorporated in the British fleet, being employed principally in anti-submarine operations.

The Army has been increased to 1,500,000 men, of which number fully 1,000,000, probably more, have had nearly six months of intensive training. The equipment of all infantry is reported to be complete, as regards supplies, arms, and munitions; and ample production, to equip additional forces and to replace wastage, is said to be assured. A possible exception should be made in the case of machine-guns, of which 17,000 have been secured during the year; but an annual production of 225,000 is reported to be now provided for. The situation with respect to artillery appears to be much less satisfactory; and for the present at least America must be mainly dependent upon French and British arsenals for guns of all calibres, although an annual production of 15,000, in calibres ranging from 34 inches to 9 inches, is now said to be assured. Motor trucks in sufficient numbers have been readily procured; and a standardised truck, in three sizes, has been designed and will soon be delivered in

« AnkstesnisTęsti »