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A MONROE DOCTRINE FOR ALL NATIONS "I am proposing, as it were, that the nations should with one accord adopt the doctrine of President Monroe as the doctrine of the world: That no nation should seek to extend its policy over any other nation or people, but that every people should be left free to determine its own policy, its own way of development, unhindered, unthreatened, unafraid, the little along with the great and powerful.
“I am proposing that all nations henceforth avoid entangling alliances which would draw them into competition of power, catch them in a net of intrigue and selfish rivalry, and disturb their own affairs with influences intruded from without. There is no entangling alliance in a concert of power. When all unite to act in the same sense and with the same purpose, all act in the common interest and are free to live their own lives under a common protection.
"I am proposing government by the consent of the governed; that freedom of the seas which in international conference after conference representatives of the United States have urged with the eloquence of those who are the convinced disciples of liberty; and that moderation of armaments which makes of armies and navies a power for order merely, not an instrument of aggression or of selfish violence.
“These are American principles, American policies. We can stand for no others. And they are also the principles and policies of forward-looking men and women everywhere, of every modern nation, of every enlightened community. They are the principles of mankind and must prevail.”
AMERICA AS A BELLIGERENT
Our Tardy Entrance Into the World War — Our Declaration the Thirtysixth in Less than Thirty-three Months — How It Was Made and How Others Had Been Made -- Our Lack of Readiness — Neglect of the Policy of Washington and Jefferson — The Evil Results of Our Unpreparedness in Former Wars – The Disgrace of the War of 1812 — Lessons Which We Refused to Learn — State of Our Forces on Land and Sea When War with Germany Was Declared - Vigorous Endeavors of Government and People to Atone for Years of Neglect and Folly — The Opposition of So-called Pacifists — Different Sentiments of Different Sections of the Country - Slowness in Realizing the Actual Situation and Its Needs — Final Uprising of the Nation.
AMERICA'S entrance into the War of the Nations was tardy and deliberate. We have seen how numerous, persistent and extreme had been her provocations, during more than two and a half years. Yet she waited until nearly every great nation in the Eastern Hemisphere was involved, and indeed until some of her neighbors in this hemisphere were beginning to consider participation in it. Our declaration of war with Germany, made on April 6, 1917, was the thirty-sixth that had been made in this war since Austria's breach with Serbia on July 28, 1914-a period of less than thirty-three months.
It will be interesting, as a matter of reference and record, to recapitulate the various declarations which had been made; bearing in mind that in some cases nations against which war was declared did not respond with counter-declarations. For example, Germany declared war against France on August 3, 1914; but France has never yet made any declaration against Germany. Her only answer to the German declaration was, to fight. The following is a list of the various declarations down to and including our own:
1914 July 28—Austria on Serbia.
Aug. 11-France on Austria-Hungary. Aug. 1-Germany on Russia.
“ 11-Montenegro on Germany. " 3-Germany on France.
“ 12–Great Britain on Austria. " 3—Germany on Belgium.
" 23-Japan on Germany. " 4-Great Britain on Germany. " 25-Austria on Japan. " 5/Austria-Hungary on Russia. " 29-Austria on Belgium. 8-Montenegro on Austria.
Nov. 2—Russia on Turkey. " 9-Austria on Montenegro.
" 5–Great Britain on Turkey. "I 9-Serbia on Germany.
" 5France on Turkey.
1915 May 22-Italy on Austria.
Oct. 15—Great Britain on Bulgaria. " 22–Italy on Turkey.
" 16-France on Bulgaria. June 3–San Marino on Austria.
" 19-Italy on Bulgaria. Oct. 14—Serbia on Bulgaria. .
" 19—Russia on Bulgaria.
1916 Mar. 8-Germany on Portugal.
Aug. 28-—Bulgaria on Roumania. " 10-Portugal on Germany.
« 28–Turkey on Roumania. " 15-Austria on Portugal.
06 28—Germany on Roumania. Aug. 27–Roumania on Austria.
“ 28—Italy on Germany. " 28-Austria-Hungary on Roumania.
· Apr. 6—United States on Germany.
FORMS OF DECLARATIONS OF WAR In finally making our declaration of war against Germany, we might well have adopted the words of Shakespeare and said, “Stand not upon the order of declaring, but declare.” There was much discussion and there were many differences of opinion as to the order, or the form; whether we should “declare war" or should merely declare that “a state of war existed.” There was thought to be much and important difference between the two, as though the former would impose far more responsibility upon
us than the latter. The former seemed to be looked upon as an announcement that we should begin war against Germany, while the latter was merely a recognition of the fact that Germany had begun to wage war against us.
The fact is, however, that between the two there was and is scarcely as much as between tweedledum and tweedledee. The two phrases are practically synonymous. To declare does not mean to wage war or to announce an intention of doing so. It means nothing more than to state, to announce, to publish, to make clear, an already existing fact. Our phrase, as finally adopted by Congress, was that a state of war "is hereby declared.” That did not mean at all that we purposed to create a state of war. It meant that we recognize the fact that one already existed, and the preceding context made it abundantly clear that it was Germany that created that state of war and thrust it upon us; which was, of course, precisely correct and the very thing that we ought to have said. The uncertainty and difference of opinion beforehand, and the misinterpretation which some have since put upon the act, simply show how much misapprehension of the meaning of the phrase there is among intelligent men. To have made it read “is hereby declared to exist," as some have been saying should have been done, would not have changed the meaning one iota. The added words would have been simply superfluous.
UNREADY FOR WAR Seldom, if ever, has any nation made a declaration of war in a greater state of unreadiness for war than the United States was in when it finally joined issues with Germany. For more than a century the policy of Washington and Jefferson, the traditional policy of this nation, had been neglected and ignored. For several years there had been much discussion and agitation of the matter, but little had been done. The nation was bewitched by the siren song of pacifism into believing, first, that there was no danger of our ever getting into war with a great power, and second, that if we did we should show ourselves able to "lick all creation."
Our army, unsurpassed in character, was a mere handful in size. Our organized militia, also pitifully small in numbers, was disorganized and demoralized by the fatuous manner in which it had been mismanaged in our campaign against Mexico. Our navy, superb as its units were, was lacking in submarines and battle cruisers, and was so undermanned that half the battleships were laid up for lack of crews. We had scarcely any aviation service, and our supplies of artillery, rifles and ammunition were wofully inadequate.
THE COST OF UNPREPAREDNESS In all this we were blind to the lessons of history. Washington in the Revolution dwelt frequently and bitterly upon the murderous folly of arraying raw recruits against trained soldiers, and urged thorough training and universal service. In the War of 1812 we had been unprepared and had trusted to green militia, with the result that our land forces were usually beaten and our national capital was abandoned to the foe. In the Civil War it took us two years to get ready to fight. In the Spanish War our unpreparedness and the mismanagement of our camps and commissary formed a national scandal. Yet we ignored these lessons of history, and for more than two years faced a world in flames of war, with a growing assurance that