Henry Bourne Joy.

Millions for tribute not one cent for defense : a reply to Henry Ford online

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A Reply to Henry Ford



Detroit, Mich.





The Wrong of "Unpreparedness"

A Reply to The Peace-at-any-Price Propaganda
of Henry Ford

Mr. Ford's statement is reprinted on page 11

Differences of opinion among men are but the natural result
of the differing mentalities with which nature has endowed them.

It is announced that "Henry Ford's wealth, gained in the
pursuit of things of peace, will be given to aid the world in its
effort for an unending peace." A splendid spirit of self-sacrifice
in the interest of the welfare of the human race is thus exem-
plified. I indeed wish Mr. Ford's wealth which he has created
could accomplish the purpose he seeks. But how will he give his
wealth to the work, and how soon, because indeed time presses?

Mr. Ford is quoted as saying, "I would teach the child at its
mother's knee what a horrible, wasteful and unavailing thing
war is."

I do not believe much expenditure on his part toward this end
is necessary. It is obvious what war is. It has been many times
painted, pictured and portrayed in all its horrors and wastes and
all of Mr. Ford's millions would make but a small addition to the
total already spent and being spent to the desired end.

The small boy is taught and has been taught the horrors of
war through all time, but nature has provided that what may be
the horrors of war to those it has endowed with peace-at-any-
price ideas, are not by any means the views of war held by the
young hopefuls of the world's people. In fact, nature has pro-
vided that those youngsters look upon war as a pretty good prop-
osition. They see lots of opportunities of proving their superior
mettle and ability. I do not think Mr. Ford would get very far
with the child at its mother's knee. I know I cannot with mine
and the more dead and dreadful horrors there are in the war
pictures of the day the more delighted he is with them, and the
delay is irksome until he can get over to the neighbor's yard and
engage in the sham battles which sometimes become real and now
and then end disastrously for him.

To labor with a small boy over the horrors of war would be
like seeking to carry water in a sieve and Mr. Ford is too good a
mechanic to try that.

So we have, I assume, to start in on his campaign for peace

21 177RR

at some other place of beginning, leaving the mothers to overcome
as best they may the instincts of nature. It is quite unfortunate
that these instincts were put by nature into humans before my
good friend Mr. Ford had a chance to modify them. But there
they are, nevertheless.

I am inclined to think that circumstances and conditions and
environment make some difference in a man's mental attitude.
It may be that if Mr. Ford's factory instead of being just outside
of Detroit, and if his home instead of being in the peaceful village
of Dearborn were or had been located in the formerly prosperous
state of Belgium, his views as to the desirability of military train-
ing and preparedness might be tinged with a different coloring.

He might think more favorably of those men of strong fibre
who were prepared to the best of their ability to resist the inroads
of the invading hordes of an overwhelmingly prepared and trained
nation seeking it is alleged "more room in the sun," whatever
that may mean. At any rate we have the result an industrious
nation utterly overrun, devastated and destroyed.

I think it would be better for Mr. Ford to adopt that as a
point of beginning and seek to prevent a recurrence of such an
unfortunate event in the world's history.

He frankly states that he does not know how or where to
begin ; therefore I assume he will not resent a frank suggestion.

I suggest that he devote his forces to prevent a repetition of
a Belgium destroyed. If he can do that then he would be well
rewarded and recompensed by sacrificing his millions to that end,
and the world would be bettered forever.

If a repetition of the Belgium devastation can be prevented,
then indeed will the world have traveled far towards a cessation
of wars.

There is a strong feeling in my mind that to talk for peace
today in the United States, no matter how earnestly we all as a
people may desire peace in the world, is to embarrass our govern-
ment in its sincere efforts to maintain peace with honor and
national self-respect, if indeed such a condition is at all possible
under the circumstances which have developed and carried us on
as a nation to the brink of international war.

And if circumstances beyond our control force us over the
edge of the war precipice, we will find ourselves utterly unfitted,
untrained and unprepared for war.


Mr. Ford says, "We do not want war. We will not have war."
He says, "Surely the world is big enough for all to live in at peace
with all."

But he does not seem to realize that there are always the big
fellows, the big bullies that have to be curbed, who have to be
regulated and limited by stronger authority than their own wills.
He surely must know that the races of the earth never have lived
at peace, and while the United States has had great immunity
from war during the period of its existence, yet during that inter-
val the world has been made to grow very small by improved
transportation and that all nations now are very near neighbors.
The ocean instead of a barrier of defense is the highway open to
the invader.

It seems apparent also that our responsibility as a nation, if
we are to be one at all, requires us to be able to take our share of
the burdens of such a responsibility and be capable of joining
others to enforce right and justice among nations, and to defend
ourselves in the event some other power does not think our ideas
of justice are correct ones. Some nation may be today looking
with covetous eyes on our "place in the sun," which location has
made Mr. Ford so prosperous under the wise laws which in the
main through generations have controlled our international affairs
and protected our industries and prosperity and peace.

It is certain that no other nations are particularly devoting
their efforts to the promoting of American international or domes-
tic trade, and if we propose to develop and expand and protect
our trade it will be because of our wilful intent and preparedness
to do so, and to maintain the prosperity of our country.

It is not beyond the realm of reason, it is indeed very possible,
even probable, that Germany may, in the event of her being vic-
torious, lay a heavy tribute on the United States for our having
shipped supplies and munitions of war to her enemies.

The levying of unfair tribute, as it was then viewed, led the
American Colonies to break away from England and set up the
nation of red-blooded people that have grown and developed to
a condition of prosperity so that Mr. Ford has created for him-
self a mighty industry out of that prosperity, the foundations
of which were laid by Washington and his half-starved, half-
clothed, armed citizenry, aided to the point of success by France
and Lafayette. France crossed what was then a very wide ocean


to come to our aid. The records show that in 1780, after a voyage
of seventy days, forty French vessels arrived at Rhode Island
with fifty-five hundred French soldiers placed directly under
Washington's command, and bringing eight million livres of
French gold to pay for their supplies and other wants. Today a
hundred times as many troops could be landed in this United
States in one-tenth of seventy days to enforce any tribute asked.

Would Mr. Ford have been a signer of the Declaration of
Independence? Would he have been a soldier in Washington's

Mr. Ford says "In all the history of civilization I cannot find
one man who has justified war!"

Were the signers of the Declaration of Independence justi-
fied? Was the war that followed justified? I am sure Mr.
Ford will not say that we were not justified in the war of 1812 !
Were we justified in the Mexican war? Was the war prevent-
able which was unfortunately precipitated because we in the
United States could not understand each other as to the menace
of slavery to our nation? Those who took part in that war on
both sides now all agree that it made of us again a united, vig-
orous people.

Were we justified in sending our men and ships to protect
Americans and aid in protecting those of other nationalities in
the Boxer troubles in China? We could not have done it if we
had not had the armed ships and trained armed men ready on the
instant, which is what Mr. Ford so violently opposes as a policy.

When the U. S. S. Maine, of sacred memory, while making a
friendly call in Havana harbor, was escorted by the Spanish auth-
orities to a "safe" mooring buoy and blown up and our flag dis-
honored and several hundred red-blooded, good American sailors'
lives snuffed out, ought we to have apologized for having been
there at all? Were our actions in undertaking the war unjusti-
fied ? Many of us who went to the Spanish War felt that we were
justified in answering the call of our government for men. Does
Mr. Ford believe in the words of the song, "I didn't raise my boy
to be a soldier ?" I am sure he cannot, though he flatly says so.

Mr. Ford believes in peace as do all his fellow countrymen.
He believes in unpreparedness, in which I hope all his fellow
countrymen disagree with him, as I certainly do. Indeed I should
be grieved more than I can express if my good friend can or does


array himself on the side of Bryan and his followers. There
has never been, it seems to me, a more conspicuously disgraced
man since Benedict Arnold's day than Mr. Bryan. Mr. Bryan
saw fit to desert his post of duty, the most important office next
to that of the Presidency itself, in a time of serious international
negotiations, being carried on in an effort to secure peace and
respect to Americans. He saw fit to compel us to show a divided
front to a possible enemy. Could such a desertion of the post of
duty at a critical moment be called less than traitorous to the
cause of America "Peace with honor?"

Mr. Ford goes further and authoritatively speaks for Mr.
Edison, who has been asked by the Government to co-operate in
war plans and who has accepted the Chairmanship of the Com-
mittee working to that end. Mr. Ford says "Mr. Edison will
never use his great brain to make anything which would destroy
human life or human property." Yet Mr. Edison is actually on
the work as Chairman in seeking to upbuild our military effi-
ciency. Mr. Edison is truly a man of great brain. He has
devised wonderful things. He has said many strong patriotic
things. I believe Mr. Edison would have signed the Declaration
of Independence and been in Washington's army. At any rate,
I feel that Mr. Edison can speak for himself as an American as
he has done in the past. Does Mr. Edison accept Mr. Ford as
his spokesman? If he does, he should instantly be asked to resign
from the Committee in aid of war plans. As a matter of fact
Mr. Edison is now supplying his storage batteries for our sub-
marines the most deadly of our war devices !

Mr. Ford's desire to accomplish permanent peace is a very
laudable object. We should all join forces to that end, but will
not Mr. Ford's attitude urging strict non-preparedness, and
therefore necessarily the acceptance uncomplainingly of any
-demand for tribute or indemnity, or any insult or harm to Amer-
icans by the victors in the European conflict, only tend to pro-
mote the recurrence of war? Will any peace, which is only a
peace during which to repair and recuperate, be a beneficial
peace ?

The nations of Europe are doing more to establish permanent
peace than is the United States of America, or Mr. Ford. They
are struggling, fighting, sacrificing, dying for that very object.


Their citizens are dying by thousands that permanent peace may
be restored and the invader held back to the limitations of his
own country.

According to Mr. Ford's religion, no resistance should be
offered to the invader. No state of preparedness should have
been available to the nations to resist one of their number who
might seek to expand and conquer.

Would it have been better if France had not sent us General
Lafayette and his troops without whose aid the war would no
doubt have been ended favorably to the English in the days when
our early colonists resisted the burdens sought to be placed on

Should we not now as a nation be able to resent any insults
and injuries extended to, or burdens of tribute levied on our
nation and our citizens, as our forefathers did for us in similar
circumstances? Would not such a course tend more to the ces-
sation of wars for all time, if all nations today joined together
to stand for the right as God gives them light to see the right,
and backed by guns and not by "scraps of paper" treaties ?

Is the heritage left to us by those who have fought and died
that America might exist as a free and righteous people a heritage
of disgrace? Are we a changed people? Is our blood turned
to water? Are we always hereafter to exist by permission of
other nations whose blood is red? Is our oversea trade always
to be in the ships of other nations and by permission of other
nations as it is today ?

It is even a serious question whether as a people serving our
own ends as a nation, we should not aid in defending the weak
against the strong. Should we not possibly even aid those nations
who have followed our example and Mr. Ford's advice, and not
maintained a condition of complete preparedness, and who are
now consequently the victims of the impossible attitude of dis-
armament and unpreparedness for defense of their industries
and their homes ? What is our duty as a people ?

Has there ever been a time in our history when such insults,
if we may call them such, by foreigners both at home and abroad
have been extended to the President of the United States?

Does Mr. Ford realize that his statement broad and long


throughout, rings with the same embarrassments to those whom
we have put in authority, the President and others, as do the
resolutions of the German-Alliances and other similar foreigners
and foreign publications among us?

I think and feel that if Mr. Ford had had the whole picture
before him, he would not have by thought or act tended to aid
those who are obviously seeking to embarrass the American peo-
ple in the performance of the plain duty they owe themselves
as a people, to instantly plan and put in force a scheme for effi-
cient military preparedness commensurate with the ability of
this nation so to do, and fully and amply in proportion to our
national military and naval requirements as urged by those who
know, and they are not civilians, namely, the General Boards
of the Army and Navy.

It is obvious that our international relations are critical. Any
American who in these times wittingly seeks to embarrass and
prevent the President and the Congress from insisting on and
obtaining every respect for American rights which it is right-
ful should be ours from any and every nation of the earth, is,
whether he knows it or not, deliberately tending to precipitate
this country into a war a righteous war to protect its honor,
compel respect and defend its citizens, who have a right to look
to their flag and their American passports as an adequate protec-
tion in their lawful affairs.

Mr. Ford is quoted as saying:

"I could make vast sums from warfare if I so
chose, but it would be better to die a pauper than that
anything that I have helped to make, or that any
thought, word or act of mine should be used for the
furtherance of this slaughter."

An impression might be drawn from this statement that Mr.
Ford would discountenance supplying the belligerents with Ford
cars or any other supplies necessary to contending armies or
nations. Yet at the plant of the Ford Motor Co., Ltd., of
England, at Manchester, there is being filled now a war order
for fifteen thousand Ford ambulance cars for the English
Government alone. This fact was stated by Mr. P. L. D.


Perry, manager of the English Company, recently to a Detroit
newspaper and I have quoted from that paper.

Further, I quote as follows another newspaper item :

"The British Government sends one hundred soldiers
from the Army Transport Service to the Ford works at
Manchester, England, for two weeks at a time to learn
how to repair machines in the field."

These facts only go to show how far the ramifications of
Mr. Ford's business extend, probably without his knowledge,
into the belligerent armies, and that Mr. Ford's very small and
reasonable profit derived therefrom is obtained by and with the
consent only of the British Navy, which so efficiently has kept
open the highways of the sea to Mr. Ford's oversea commerce.

If this nation is saved from war, with honor and prestige
retained, it will be due to the almost solidly united front pre-
sented by the patriotic press of the nation in educating the people
in the just doctrines of the rights of Americans travelling on the
high seas, and in the pursuit of our lawful trade and commerce
between nations.

It should, however, be ever uppermost in our minds that
whatever oversea commerce this nation is enjoying today is by
virtue of the strong arm extending over the seas of the world
of the armed fleets of the allied nations, especially that of Great
Britain, and not by virtue of our own intelligence and prepared-
ness to demand and defend our rights against those who might
see fit to curtail them.

This country is placed directly in the position of trying to
compel respect for its rights by mere words, by the mere asking
rights which no self-respecting nation should surrender except
to a superior power after a contest of arms.

We cannot under our existing unpreparedness obtain and
retain our own national rights if seriously opposed therein, much
less make effective the very able protest of the President against
the wanton destruction on the seas of the lives of innocent non-
combatants, even of women and of babies.

August 28th, 1915.


From Detroit Free Press, Sunday, August 22nd, 1915


Will Devote Life and Fortune to

Combat Spirit of Militarism

Now Rampant.



Scores Hypocrites Who Pretend to

Be Religious, Yet Foster War

For Sordid Gain.

"I will do everything in my power to prevent murderous,
wasteful war in America and in the whole world; I will devote
my life to fight this spirit which is now felt in the free and
peaceful air of the United States, the spirit of militarism, mother
to the cry of 'preparedness' preparedness, the root of all war."

These words, uttered Saturday by Henry Ford, hater of war
and visualizer of vast foresight, marked the beginning of what
will henceforth be the life-work of the man to strike with
everything he commands at what he declares to be the direct
cause of all wars and all national antipathies that breed war

"I would teach the child at its mother's knee," said Mr. Ford,
"what a horrible, wasteful and unavailing thing war is. In the
home and in the schools of the world I would see the child
taught to feel the uselessness of war; that war is a thing unnec-
essary; that preparation for war can only end in war.


Will Give Much to End Wasteful "Preparation"

"I have prospered much, and I am ready to give much to end
this constant, wasteful 'preparation.' Not by building palaces
of peace, not by inspiring fearful peace by powerful armament,
but by teaching the men, women and children of America that
war does not threaten us, that war will not reach us, that the
fullness of peace is their inheritance, not the burden of militarism
with its heavy hand that curbs liberty and its foul sustenance
upon the blood, the labor and the toil-earned happiness and goods
of the worker.

Entire World United in Demand for Peace
"This I would make a world work, for all the world cries for
peace, and there can be no peace while there remains one set of
these militaristic parasites who encourage war and who damn all
whose ideas of patriotism and love of their fellowmen does not
call for arming brother against brother.

"I confess I do not know how it is best to undertake this work
in an organized manner. I realize it is a vast undertaking. Yet
I want to see this nation and all the nations of the earth nourishing
that feeling, already deeply implanted in the minds and hearts of
millions, that is expressed in the words: 'We do not want war.
We will not have war. We will not have amongst us the breeders
of war, be they men who cry out that the enemy seeks us, and we
must prepare for him, or be they only those who would dazzle
with the false glory that has been the cloak of murder for

"The seed of this project is right here in the Ford organization,
in hundreds of organizations throughout the country. We have
to develop it and nourish its growth. The workshops, the farms,
fair and just conditions, equitable prices and commercial unsel-
fishness are the things we wish to improve.

People of All Lands Cry Out Against War

"By some remote and providential scheme a little good might
result through the use of guns, warships, shrapnel and torpedo.
To my mind this is the last and most remote means that could
possibly be suggested to gain the national or world-wide end
that most sober-minded men wish to obtain.

"When men think and work, they do right, and the voice of
the people, I do believe, in every land under the sun, cries out


against war. The trouble is that they do not make enough
noise, and the yell of the few who, for monetary gain, want
war just at this particular time, seems to prevail.

"We who can, ought to help in the right direction. It's a
pathetic sight and positive fact that most men who pose as stand-
ing for the best things in life and who pray to God in churches
on Sundays for peace (the very pillars of the church, they are
called) are busiest nowadays in obtaining the orders that will
enable them to convert their factories into workshops for making
shot and shell for destroying mankind and defeating
the finest and loftiest things in the world homes,
happiness, prosperity. ******

Public Must Control Actions of "Rulers"

"Nowadays men are prone to think they have nothing to do
with and cannot control their own destinies. It is everybody's
business to know how the moneys of the country are spent and
how the wisdom and judgment of the chief executives is directed,
and the sooner we come to understand this the sooner will be
stopped the wanton waste of money for murderous and destruc-
tive agencies, such as warships, guns and arms. ******

"I hate war, because war is murder, desolation and de-
struction, causeless, unjustifiable, cruel and heartless to
those of the human race who do not want it, the countless
millions, the workers. I hate it none the less for its waste, its
uselessness and the barriers it raises against progress, and the
development of the world, human and material.

"Aside from the burning fact that war is murder, the waster of
lives and home and lands, and that 'preparedness' has never
prevented war, but has ever brought war to the world aside
from all this is the utter futility (from a cold, hard business view
alone) of the equipment of an army today with weapons that are
obsolete tomorrow.

"We build a vast naval machine today. A few months hence
it is surpassed by that of another country and is practically
useless. We give our soldiers a death-dealing rifle. Tomorrow
another nation's soldiers have a weapon that surpasses ours.

"The United States has spent more than a billion dollars on a
navy and army that was to cope with an invasion that never
occurred and never will occur. And yet the very 'war experts'


who were responsible for that burdensome army and navy admit
that our army and navy never would have been able to meet,
with any hope of success, those of other so-called powers.

"And with all their prophecies of war fallen flat, they cry for
still greater waste.

"The people of the United States have been compelled to
throw a billion dollars into a junk pile, and these men would
have another billion go the same way. If one- tenth of what
has been spent on preparation for war had been spent on the
prevention of war, the world would always have been at peace.

"Why, if the United States is threatened by another nation,


Online LibraryHenry Bourne JoyMillions for tribute not one cent for defense : a reply to Henry Ford → online text (page 1 of 2)