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for democracy, when that great principle prevails, universal peace will be an accomplished fact.
No nation or people will benefit more than the United States when that time comes. But it has not yet come. A great people, ruled in thought and word, as well as in deed, by the most sinister government of modern times, is straining every nerve to supplant democracy by the autocracy which they have been taught to worship. When will the German people awaken to the truth? When will they arise in their might and cast off the yoke and become their own masters?
I fear that it will not be until the physical might of the united democracies of the world have destroyed forever the evil ambitions of the military rulers of Germany and liberty triumphs over its arch-enemy.
And yet in spite of these truths which have been brought to light in these last three years I wonder how many Americans feel that our democracy is in peril, that our liberty needs protection, that the United States is in real danger from the malignant forces which are seeking to impose their will upon the world, as they have upon Germany and her deceived allies.
Let us understand once for all that this is no war to establish an abstract principle of right. It is a war in which the future of the United States is at stake. If any among you have the
idea that we are fighting others' battles and not our own, the sooner he gets away from that idea the better it will be for him, the better it will be for all of us.
Imagine Germany victor in Europe because the United States remained neutral.
Who then, think you, would be the next victim of those who are seeking to be masters of the whole earth? Would not this country with its enormous wealth arouse the cupidity of an impoverished though triumphant Germany? Would not this democracy be the only obstacle between the autocratic rulers of Germany and their supreme ambition? Do you think that they would withhold their hand from so rich a prize?
Let me then ask you, would it be easier or wiser for this country singlehanded to resist a German Empire, flushed with victory and with great armies and navies at its command, than to unite with the brave enemies of that Empire in ending now and for all time this menace to our future?
Primarily then, every man who crosses the ocean to fight on foreign soil against the armies of the German Emperor, goes forth to fight for his country and for the preservation of those things for which our forefathers were willing to die. To those who thus offer themselves we owe the same debt that we owe to those men who
in the past fought on American soil in the cause of liberty. No, not the same debt, but a greater
It calls for more patriotism, more selfdenial, and a truer vision to wage war on distant shores than to repel an invader or defend one's home. I therefore congratulate you, young men, in your choice of service. You have done a splendid thing. You have earned already the gratitude of your countrymen and of generations of Americans to come. Your battle-flags will become the cherished trophies of a nation which will never forget those who bore them in the cause of liberty.
I know that some among you may consider the idea that Germany would attack us, if she won this war, to be improbable; but let him who doubts remember that the improbable, yes, the impossible, has been happening in this war from the beginning. If you had been told prior to August, 1914, that the German Government would disregard its solemn treaties and send its armies into Belgium, would wantonly burn Louvain, would murder defenseless people, would extort ransoms from conquered cities, would carry away men and women into slavery, would, like Vandals of old, destroy some of history's most cherished monuments, and would with malicious purpose lay waste the fairest fields of France and Belgium, you would have
indignantly denied the possibility. You would have exclaimed that Germans, lovers of art and learning, would never permit such foul deeds. To-day you know that the unbelievable has happened, that all these crimes have been committed, not under the impulse of passion but under official orders.
Again, if you had been told before the war that German submarine Commanders would sink peaceful vessels of commerce and send to sudden death men, women and little children, you would have declared such scientific brutality to be impossible. Or, if you had been told that German aviators would fly over thickly populated cities scattering missiles of death and destruction with no other purpose than to terrorize the innocent inhabitants, you would have denounced the very thought as unworthy of belief and as a calumny upon German honor. Yet, God help us, these things have come to pass, and iron crosses have rewarded the perpetrators.
But there is more, far more, which might be added to this record of unbelievable things which the German Government has done. I only need to mention the attempt of the Foreign Office at Berlin to bribe Mexico to make war upon us by promising her American territory. It was only one of many intrigues which the German Government was carrying on in many lands. Spies
and conspirators were sent throughout the world. Civil discord was encouraged to weaken the potential strength of nations which might be obstacles to the lust of Germany's rulers for world mastery. Those of German blood, who owed allegiance to other countries, were appealed to, to support the Fatherland, which beloved name masked the military clique at Berlin.
Some day I hope that the whole tale may be told. It will be an astounding tale indeed. But enough has been told so that there no longer remains the shadow of a doubt as to the character of Germany's rulers, of their amazing ambition for world empire, and of their intense hatred for democracy.
The day has gone by when we can measure possibilities by past experiences or when we believe that any physical obstacle is so great or any moral influence is so potent as to cause the German autocracy to abandon its mad purpose of world-conquest.
It was the policy of those who plotted and made ready for the time to accomplish the desire of the German rulers, to lull into false security the great nations which they intended to subdue. so that when the storm broke they would be unprepared. How well they succeeded you know. But democracy no longer sleeps.
. It is fully awake to the menace which threatens it,