Слике страница
PDF
ePub

OTHER AUTHORITIES FOR PREPAREDNESS Both the Adamses, Madison and Monroe favored universal military training and service. So did Jackson, the founder of modern democracy. He urged in his message of December, 1835, that the whole body of the male population be organized and classified for training and service. A classification of the population,” he wrote, "offers the most obvious means of effecting this organization. Such a division may be made as will be just to all by transferring each at a proper period of life from one class to another and by calling first for the service of that class, whether for instruction or action, which from age is qualified for the duty and may be called to perform it with the least injury to themselves or the public.

"Should the danger ever become so imminent as to require additional force the other classes in succession would be ready for the call.”

THE TRADITIONAL POLICY ABANDONED Such was the policy of the founders of the republic. Such, then, was the traditional policy of the republic. But it was abandoned; or, rather, it was never fulfilled. The need of it was bitterly felt in the War of 1812, when the great majority of our land operations were as disgraceful and as disastrous as our achievements on the sea were brilliant. Despite these admonitions and that example, however, the policy was neglected and abandoned. There was little or no attempt made to give the militia universal training, and the standing army was reduced to a merely nominal strength.

The numbers of troops engaged in our various wars, including re-enlistments, have been as follows: Revolution, 1775-83; 309,791. Northwestern Indian, 1790–95; 8,983. France, 1798-1800; 4,593. Tripoli, 1801-05; 3,330. Indian (Harrison), 1811–13; 910. War of 1812, 1812-15; 576,622. Creek Indian, 1813–14; 13,781. Seminole, 1817–18; 6,911. Winnebago (Wis.), 1827; 1,416. Sac and Fox (III.), 1831; — Black Hawk, 1832; 6,465. Cherokee removal, 1833–39; 9,494. Seminole (Fla.), 1835–42; 41,122; Sabine Indian, 1836–37; 4,429. Creek (Fla.), 1836–37; 13,418. "Patriot” (frontier), 1838–39; 1,500. Seminole (Fla.), 1842–58; Mexico, 184648; 112,230. · Cayuse Indian (Ore.), 1848; 1,116. Texas Indian, 1849–56; 4,243. Apache (Utah), 1849–55; 2,561. California Indian, 1849–55; 265. Utah Indian, 1851-53; 540. Oregon-Washington Indian, 1851-56; 5,145. Comanche, 1854; 503. Seminole, 1855–58; 2,687. Civil War, 1861–66; 2,778,304. Spanish-American, 1898–99; 312,523. Philippine, 1899–1902; 140,038. Pekin (China) expedition, 1900-01; 6,913. Grand total, 4,371,839..

In the principal wars these figures represented chiefly volunteers, and the numbers were ludicrously disproportionate to the efficiency of the service. Thus in the Revolution and in the War of 1812 it is doubtful if at any one time we ever had of effective troops in the field more than one-tenth of the numbers mentioned.

ORIGIN OF THE VOLUNTEER DELUSION We may trace the origin of the insane delusion concerning the efficiency of volunteers and raw levies to our first important battle, Bunker Hill. “The Americans," says Greene in his military history of the Revolution, “without proper organization, equipment, or supplies, had fought the best regular troops of Europe, and had repulsed them until their ammunition gave out ... and they were convinced that they could do it again, and that regular organization: was not necessary-a conviction which they tenaciously held to throughout the Revolution; and then transmitted to their descendants, who have believed it almost to this day."

That delusion survived the disaster and disgrace of the War of 1812, because of the fine achievements of our navy, and because the fact that the British army was chiefly occupied with beating Bonaparte in Spain and Flanders enabled us to come out of that war without the sound drubbing that we otherwise would doubtless have received. Of course at Bunker Hill we won because of the monumental folly of the British in walking into a trap and of attempting to storm, with solid columns, an entrenched position. But in every war which we have fought we have suffered grossly and inexcusably, from lack of preparedness and from our fatuous dependence upon untrained men.

UNIVERSAL SERVICE DEMOCRATIC It should of course be perfectly obvious, without argument or explication, that universal military service is not only quite compatible with democratic institutions but also is actually demanded by them. If all men are regarded as equal, in the sight of the law, they must be equal in responsibility and duties as well as in rights and privileges. If they are equal in their enjoyment of the service and the protection of the government, they must be equal in their service to and their support of the government, and they must be these things and do these things at all times, in war as well as in peace. These principles need no demonstration. They are axiomatic.

Moreover, since the republic prepares its citizens, by compulsory universal education, for the duties of citizenship in peace, it is similarly legitimate and indeed imperative for it to prepare them for their duties in war, by giving them universal military instruction and training.

THE SWISS EXAMPLE An example of universal service in a democracy is presented by Switzerland. That republic has long been probably the most perfectly prepared nation in the world, for military defense. Yet in no other country has militarism less interfered with industry and social economy, and in no other land is the burden of military expenses lighter. Under the Swiss constitution, with the exceptions of certain specified classes, such as federal officials, postal employes, police, clergymen and teachers, etc., all men are liable for military duty between the ages of 20 and 48. The army is divided into three classes: The elite, from 20. to 32; the landwehr, from 32 to 40; and the landsturm, from 40 to 48 years of age. At 20 every young Swiss reports for admittance to service, and if he passes a satisfactory examination he is enrolled and receives a uniform, rifle and full equipment, which he takes home and keeps during his whole period of service, being responsible for their good care, under heavy penalty.

He is then sent to one of the schools for recruits, where he serves under an expert corps of instructors. Each day at the school means eight hours of hard drill and other work, including night-firing and entrenching. During the first year he serves thus 65 days if he is in the infantry and 90 days if he is in the cavalry. After that year he is called out for from 11 to 14 days every other year while he is in the elite. In the landwehr he is called out only once, for 11 days. In the landsturm he is called out only in case of war.

SCHOOLBOY TRAINING The recruit on entering the service at 20 years of age is by no means raw material. Up to 15 years of age every boy is compelled to attend school, in which there is systematic physical training intended to give preparation for military service. There is also an elaborate cadet corps system, which boys are encouraged to join, and in which they are instructed in rifle-firing and other military details. At 20 the average young Swiss is already expert in the manual of arms and in many of the duties of a soldier's life.

The cost of all this to the nation is trifling, the total cost of the military establishment being only about $13,000,000 a year. The cost of each recruit, for training and maintenance during his first year's period of service, is $13. He serves without pay, save for 16 cents a day for spending money, and the government pays for his uniform, rifle and other equipment, transportation, lodgings and food. The net result is that Switzerland, one of the most peaceful and least militaristic countries in the world, is a nation of efficient, disciplined and expert soldiers.

Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, though British colonies, are really republics; certainly they are no less democracies than the United States; and they have systems of universal service. In Australia military training and service is compulsory upon all boys and men between the ages of 12 and 26. From 12 to 14 they are junior cadets; from 14 to 18 senior cadets; and from 18 to 26 they are citizen forces, armed, equipped and disciplined precisely as in the regular British army.

The suggestion of what such a system would mean to this country-of what it would be meaning to us now, if it had been in force for the last score of years—is uncommonly profitable for consideration.

« ПретходнаНастави »