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What Navy Yard shall be employed for this purpose and what extensive enlargements and additional construction facilities shall be provided, to enable the Navy Yards to build any considerable number of ships and with any reasonable speed ? To provide any substantial increase in construction facilities, such as is needed, will involve a long period of time and great cost.
What steps should be taken to induce the shipbuilders to enlarge their plants adequately and to increase substantially the speed of production ?
Shall the contract price be fixed by competition, as heretofore, or in some other way—as by a price-fixing commission?
Shall Government plants for making armor be established a plan which will inevitably result in years of delay and in final failure to get satisfactory armor. Or shall armor be made exclusively in private plants and these plants be encouraged to do the best they can for the interests of the Government as well as their own?
What shall be done in the way of developing the submarine and constructing a large number of this very important arm of the navy as soon as possible, and where shall these submarines be built?
What shall be done in the way of developing the aeroplane and seaplane and constructing a large number of this very important arm as soon as possible, and where shall these aeroplanes be built?
What extensions shall be made in our gun-developing, testing, and manufacturing plants, and where shall these be located ? An exceedingly important and difficult matter, for if the enemy's guns are superior, our ships will be of little use.
Where shall additional plants or shops be located ? . . .
NEED OF A GENERAL STAFF.
Is it not manifest, then, that there should be an advisory body to Congress and to the President, and if occasion demands to the people-a defense commission. This commission should be a permanent organization, non-political in character, and charged by law with certain duties. It should acquaint itself with our determined National policies. It should study the probabilities and possibilities of their conflict with those of other nations. It should be in close touch with our naval and military organizations through membership of naval and military officers in its own body, and by consultation with the army and navy general staffs. It should consider what may be required of these forces in meeting foreign aggression. It should call upon the two staffs for reports and their views as to the character and extent of the forces required to meet the necessities of the country resulting from its recognized policies, and should then digest these reports in the light of the different questions involved, and finally advise the President and Congress as to the best course.
Our naval organization has no general staff, nor are any of the makeshifts proposed from time to time and limited in their scope by motions of fancied expediency, in any true sense an embodiment of a general staff. The Navy Department organization to-day consists of a secretary, under whom are a number of bureau chiefs with equal authority, but none of them clothed with the responsibility for the preparation of the navy or its efficient direction in time of war.
There should be provided in our organization a governing military head, under the secretary and supported by a competent staff of advisers. He should be charged officially with the duty of planning what we need in the way of a fleet or other fighting machines and directing its operations. The general staff should control the military side of the organization; and the civil duties which have heretofore been in the hands of the secretary or his assistants, should remain there. On the following page is a diagram showing a simple form of organization for the army and navy suited to our form of government and providing for a national defense commission and general staffs for the navy and army.
(C. G. Curtis, Necessity for a Defense Commission.)
(4) [$306] Where the Nation Stands.
We meet to celebrate Flag Day because this flag which we honor and under which we serve is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation. It has no other character than that which we give it from generation to generation. The choices are ours. It floats majestic silence above the hosts that execute those choices, whether in peace or in war. And yet, though silent, it speaks to us-speaks to us of the past, of the men and women who went before us and of the records they wrote upon it. We celebate the day of its birth; and from its birth until now it has witnessed a great history, has floated on high the symbol of great events, of a great plan of life worked out by a great people. We are about to carry it into battle, to lift it where it will draw the fire of our enemies. We are about to bid thousands, hundreds of thousands, it may be millions, of our men, the young, the strong, the capable men of the nation, to go forth and die beneath it on fields of blood far away-for what? For some unaccustomed thing? For something for which it has never sought the fire before? American armies were never before sent across the seas. Why are they sent now? For some new purpose, for which this great flag has never been carried before, or for some old, familiar, heroic purpose for which it has seen men, its own men, die on every battlefield upon which Americans have borne arms since the Revolution ?
These are questions which must be answered. We are Americans. We in our turn serve America, and can serve her with no private purpose. We must use her flag as she has always used it. We are accountable at the bar of history and must plead in utter frankness what purpose it is we seek to
It is plain enough how we were forced into the war. The extraordinary insults and aggressions of the Imperial German Government left us no self-respecting choice but to take up arms in defense of our rights as a free people and of our honor as a sovereign government. The military masters of Germany denied us the right to be neutral. They filled our unsuspecting communities with vicious spies and conspirators and sought to corrupt the opinion of our people in their own behalf. When they found that they could not do that, their agents diligently spread sedition amongst us and sought to draw our own citizens from their allegiance-and some of those agents were men connected with the official Embassy of the German Government itself here in our own capital. They sought by violence to destroy our industries and arrest our commerce. They tried to incite Mexico to take up arms against us and to draw Japan into a hostile alliance with her-and that, not by indirection, but by direct suggestion from the Foreign Office in Berlin. They impudently denied us the use of the high seas and repeatedly executed their threat that they would send to their death any of our people, who ventured to approach the coasts of Europe. And many of our own people were corrupted. Men began to look upon their own neighbors with suspicion and to wonder in their hot resentment and surprise whether there was any community in which hostile intrigue did not lurk. What great nation in such circumstances would not have taken up arms? Much as we had desired peace, it was denied us, and not of own own choice. This flag under which we serve would have been dishonored had we withheld our hand.
THE GERMAN PEOPLE.
But that is only part of the story. We know now as clearly as we knew before we were ourselves engaged that we are not the enemies of the German people and that they are not our enemies. They did not originate or desire this hideous war or wish that we should be drawn into it; and we are vaguely conscious that we are fighting their cause, as they will some day see it, as well as our own. They are themselves in the grip of the same sinister power that has now at last stretched its ugly talons out and drawn blood from us. The whole world is at war because the whole world is in the grip of that power and is trying out the great battle which shall determine whether it is to be brought under its mastery or fling itself free.
ATTEMPTS TO GERMANIZE EUROPE.
The war was begun by the military masters of Germany, who proved to be also the masters of Austria-Hungary. These men have never regarded nations as peoples, men, women and children of like blood and frame as themselves, for whom governments existed and in whom governments had their life. They have regarded them merely as serviceable organizations which they could by force or intrigue, bend or corrupt to their own purpose. They have regarded the smaller states, in particular,
and the peoples who could be overwhelmed by force, as their natural tools and instruments of domination. Their purpose has long been avowed. The statesmen of other nations, to whom that purpose was incredible, paid little attention; regarded what German professors expounded in their classrooms and German writers set forth to the world as the goal of German policy as rather the dream of minds detached from practical affairs, as preposterous private conceptions of German destiny, than as the actual plans of responsible rulers; but the rulers of Germany themselves knew all the while what concrete plans, what well advanced intrigues lay back of what the professors and the writers were saying, and were glad to go forward unmolested, filling the thrones of Balkan states with German princes, putting German officers at the service of Turkey to drill her armies and make interest with her government, developing plans of sedition and rebellion in India and Egypt, setting their fires in Persia. The demands made by Austria upon Servia were a mere single step in a plan which compassed Europe and Asia, from Berlin to Bagdad. They hoped those demands might not arouse Europe, but they meant to press them whether they did or not, for they thought themselves ready for the final issue of arms.
Their plan was to throw a broad belt of German military power and political control across the very center of Europe and beyond the Mediterranean into the heart of Asia; and AustriaHungary was to be as much their tool and pawn as Servia or Bulgaria or Turkey or the ponderous states of the East. Austria-Hungary, inded, was to become part of the central German Empire, absorbed and dominated by the same forces and influences that had originally cemented the German states themselves. The dream had its heart at Berlin. It could have had a heart nowhere else! It rejected the idea of solidarity of race entirely. The choice of peoples played no part in it at all. It contemplated binding together racial and political units which could be kept together only by force-Czechs, Magyars, Croats, Serbs, Roumanians, Turks, Armenians, the proud states of Bohemia and Hungary, the stout little commonwealths of the Balkans, the indomitable Turks, the subtile peoples of the East. These peoples did not wish to be united. They ardently desired to direct their own affairs, would be satisfied only by undisputed independence. They could be kept quiet only by the presence or the constant threat of armed men. They would live under a common power only by sheer compulsion and await the day of revolution. But the German military statesmen had reckoned with all that and were ready to deal with it in their own way.
And they have actually carried the greater part of that amazing plan into execution! Look how things stand. Austria is at their mercy. It has acted, not upon its own initiative or upon the choice of its own people, but at Berlin's dictation ever since the war began. Its people now desire peace, but cannot have it until leave is granted from Berlin. The so-called Central Powers are in fact but a single Power. Servia is at its mercy, should its hands be but for a moment freed. Bulgaria has consented to its will, and Roumania is overrun. The Turkish
armies, which Germans trained, are serving Germany, certainly not themselves, and the guns of German warships lying in the harbor at Constantinople remind Turkish statesmen every day that they have no choice but to take their orders from Berlin. From Hamburg to the Persian Gulf the net is spread.
GERMAN DESIRE FOR PEACE.
Is it not easy to understand the eagerness for peace that has been manifested from Berlin ever since the snare was set and sprung? Peace, peace, peace has been the talk of her Foreign Office for now a year and more; not peace upon her own initiative, but upon the initiative of the nations over which she now deems herself to hold the advantage. At little of the talk has been public, but most of it has been private. Through all sorts of channels it has come to me, and in all sorts of guises, but never with the terms disclosed which the German Government would be willing to accept. That Government has other valuable pawns in its hands besides those I have mentioned. It still holds a valuable part of France, though with slowly relaxing grasp, and practically the whole of Belgium. Its armies press close upon Russia and overrun Poland at their will. It cannot go further; it dare not go back. It wishes to close its bergain before it is too late and it has little left to offer for the pound of flesh it will demand.
The military masters under whom Germany is bleeding see very clearly to what point Fate has brought them. If they fall back or are forced back an inch, their power both abroad and at home will fall to pieces like a house of cards. It is their power at home they are thinking about now more than their power abroad. It is that power which is trembling under their very feet; and deep fear has entered their hearts. They have but one chance to perpetuate their military power or even their controlling political influence. If they can secure peace now with the immense advantages still in their hands which they have up to this point apparently gained, they will have justified themselves before the German people; they will have gained by force what they promised to gain by it; an immense expansion of German power, an immense enlargement of German industrial and commercial opportunities. Their prestige will be secure, and with their prestige their political power. If they fail their people will thrust them aside; a government accountable to the people themselves will be set up in Germany as it has been in England, in the United States, in France, and in all the great countries of the modern time except Germany. If they succeed they are safe and Germany and the world are undone; if they fail, Germany is saved and the world will be at peace. If they succeed. America will fall within the menace. We and all the rest of the world must remain armed, as they will remain, and must make ready for the next step in their aggression; if they fail, the world may unite for peace and Germany may be of the union.