Survey Associates.

The Survey (Volume 58) online

. (page 2 of 130)
Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 2 of 130)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

carriers, long suffering under a drag, rebounding quickly in
the hope of generous terms during occupancy. But cotton
went free to catch the favors of a swelling market, and the
South was happy beyond measure, counting this boon from
a Democratic president some atonement for fifty years of
Republican high protection. To assume the new functions,
innumerable agencies were organized and hundreds of


captains of industry flocked to Washington to serve their
country at the rate of one dollar a year.

In mobilizing men and materials for war, a sincere effort
was made to avoid the scandals which had marred previous
armed conflicts. Although the type of fraud that had been
perpetrated in older days when contracts were let on the
lump-sum principle was escaped, other evils scarcely less
distressing were called into being. Under the cost-plus
system no one was interested in economy; if the producer
of raw materials raised his prices, the war contractor could
smile and pass on the extra charge with an increase in his
commission. If a trade union struck for higher wages, the
manufacturer could grant the demand with a friendly shrug,
for the additional expense meant a larger commission
garnered from the beneficent government. Only the wheat
growers suffered severely in this procedure their com-
modity being held down to a low level, whereas the prices
of nearly all other essentials went shooting to the sky. So
the war led by a Democratic President strengthened his
opposition by making several thousand millionaires in the
course of two years and by pouring out billions in extra

In only one respect, namely taxation, did the beneficiaries
of war prosperity suffer grave disappointment. If former
practices had been followed, the bills incurred by such lavish
expenditures would have been met from the sale of bonds
bearing a high rate of interest and discharged at last by
indirect taxes on consumption. This had been in the main
the fiscal procedure adopted by the directors of the federal
government at the time of the Civil War and the Spanish-
American struggle; but during the populist surge of the
intervening years, political manners had changed. Congress
laid heavy, progressive taxes on incomes and inheritances
and burdensome levies upon the excess profits of corpora-
tions and partnerships. In spite of the fact that many
marvelous schemes were devised by lawyers and accountants
for absorbing the shock, including the ingenious device of
issuing new stock in lieu of dividends, a weight of taxation
that would have seemed revolutionary to the age of Lincoln
fell upon the rich and the comfortable during the war for

In the sacrificial ardor of 1917, however, all profits were
not lost, for the major portion of the current expenses dur-
ing the war years was met by the sale of interest-bearing
securities not by direct levies on accumulated and accumu-
lating fortunes. Counting the Victory Loan of April, 1919,
five great blocks of bonds were floated, making a total of
$21,448,120,300 each of them on severe terms that would
have astounded the bankers of the Civil War period.
Moreover, the bonds were not sold through syndicates on
a generous commission basis, but "over the counter" with
specific compensation for financiers.

In the popular "drives" the whole nation was invited to
share and recalcitrants were compelled to join. All the
vociferous advertising methods so characteristic of American
business in general were mobilized to force each issue "over
the top." Not a latent sentiment of loyalty, fear, love, or
hate was left unstirred. Immense posters bearing the im-
print of a bloody hand and carrying the legend "The
Hun, His Mark. Blot It Out With Liberty Bonds"
were flung upon the hoardings to move one type of in-
vestor. Streamers bearing the inscription "Ask His
Mother How Many Bonds You Should Buy" appealed

to another class. Workmen in factories, farmers in fields,
clerks in stores, members of lodges, children in school, bank
depositors, government employes, travelers on trains,
pedestrians in the streets were all invited, besieged and
belabored to "buy until it hurts."

The sovereignty of the war passion admitted no excep-
tions; nationalism was in full flower.

THESE material activities were merely a part of the
general mobilization of the whole people in a conflict
which, until April 7, 1917, had been stanchly opposed
by a large part of them. About one week after the declara-
tion of war, President Wilson organized a committee on
public information for the purpose of "selling the war to
America." Masters of the printed word, adepts in adver-
tising, university professors, facile magazine writers, and
popular novelists were enrolled in regimental ranks for the
purpose of "educating" the country and in turn deluging
the world with American propaganda. With the higher
mental order thus arranged, the entire school system of
the country was easily brought into line with mechanical
precision, subduing even the minds of tender children to the
official thesis concerning the origins and merits of the con-
test. Heavy, documented articles were devised by men of
learning for the intellectuals; pungent sayings and slogans
were invented to supply substance for the less sophisticated.
Never before had American citizens realized how thor-
oughly, how irresistibly a modern government could impose
its ideas upon the whole nation and, under a barrage of
publicity, stifle dissent with declarations, assertions, official
versions, and reiteration. Organized to sell the war to a
divided and confused nation, the Committee on Public
Information succeeded beyond all expectations in its ap-
pointed task.

With dissenters who were not convinced or cowed by its
publicity campaign, the government dealt vigorously under
drastic statutes. In June, 1917, Congress passed the
Espionage Act, laying heavy penalties on all persons who
interfered in any way with the effective mobilization of the
military and naval forces of the nation. Not content with
the sweeping provisions of this law, the President asked and
received from Congress a still more severe measure, the
Sedition Act, of May, 19183 statute which in effect
made any criticism of the Wilson administration a possible
cause of criminal prosecution.

Though this measure surpassed in violence the Sedition
Law of 1798, so hotly denounced by Thomas Jefferson, it
was enacted without difficulty. Individual critics of the
war and the Wilson program were rounded up by the
government, often without warrants of arrest, hustled to
prison, held incommunicado without bail, tried in courts
where the atmosphere was heavily charged with passion,
lectured by irate judges, and sent to prison for long terms
in one case an adolescent girl for twenty years.

The Post Office Department found the defeat of a
censorship bill no bar to the suppression of newspapers that
failed to measure up to its standards of propriety and taste.
In the War Department an army of clerks and investi-
gators assembled mountains of "data" bearing on the
opinions of private persons; a swivel-chair chauvinist,
thrown up from obscurity for an hour and drawing a dolla
a year for his services, gave to the press under the color of
dubious official authority a long list of citizens branded as
traitors in his own patriotic eyes. (Continued on page 51 )

At almost the exact center of
the country, a great war monu-
ment, designed by H. Van Ruren
Magonigle, is nearing completion

The Liberty
Memorial at
Kansas City

At right, the memorial building
by night. Above, the shaft with
searchlight showing the four
winged figures in high relief

A high shaft, lighted by night, is flanked by
sphinx-like figures of Memory and the Future.
Two buildings face in from the ends of the
wide base. The approach lies through a tree-
lined mall. From the drawing by Hugh Ferriss

Moral Preparedness for the Next War


IF any pacifist were to ask me if I, as a war
veteran, thought that our first efforts to end
war were successful, I should be forced to
answer, No! I should even be forced to
admit that it was a dismal failure, a con-
spicuous failure. For when the unfortunate
armistice put an end to the fighting, we veterans had not
made our point: the universal peace that we were fighting
for did not come. We have not been able to produce
peace by force, like a rabbit out of a hat. At least, not
yet. Give us time. There is always the next war we'll
show you something then! Why, we've got amphibious
tanks that'll do about fifteen knots in the water and thirty
miles an hour cross country, aeroplane bombs that knock
anything they had in the last show {-a a row of ashcans,
and gases that will exterminate a whole city in one dose.
That ten million combatant dead in the last war the un-
told millions of noncombatant dead will look like mere
child's play.

But according to the U. S. War Instructions, the object
of war is not to kill and destroy, but to bring about a re-
newed state of peace. The militarists of every country are
urging armaments in preparation for peace. Our job,
therefore, it seems to me, is to prepare ourselves morally
for the next war because peace is so unpatriotic! except
by fighting!

What I mean 'by moral preparation is this: It is first
of all to weigh the evidence carefully, and secondly for each
one of us, individual citizens, man or woman, to realize
his responsibility, or hers. That, after all, is the essence
of democracy. To put it in form of a colloquial question :
Just what are we going to do about it, you and I?
Once upon a time war was a tribal excursion for food
or revenge. In feudal days it became a baronial picnic. In
the days of monarchies, even down to the Boer War, fight-
ing was the jealously guarded privilege of the regular
armies. You and I had to be content to get on with
our jobs. Today we know that pa-
triotism cannot be kept as the privi-
lege of the few. We have forced the
regular army to let every man of us
have his share of the glory, his share
of the decorations for valor, his share
of the manly delight of sticking a

the men. Didn't they form machine-gun battalions in
Poland, and Legions of Death in Russia, and didn't the
peasant women of France march proudly out of their shelled
homes pushing their babies and everything they had in the
world in perambulators? Didn't the women in manufactur-
ing towns have the chance to get out of dish-washing and
earn high wages making shells to help shoot down other
women's husbands and sons? The gently bred women
shared too. They did magnificent work running canteens for
the soldiers, nursing the wounded and hurrying them back
into the line to be wounded again or killed, lunching with
generals in braided uniforms, and having as a matter of fact
the emotional jag of their lives. Indeed we couldn't have
got along without women. It would have been a much
shorter war if they hadn't joined in.

War has passed out of the hands of the few and has
become the business of the many, and it is because the last
war was sprung on us too quickly, from the point of view
of the individual, that we should be morally prepared for
the next instead of sinking back into the lethargy and in-
ertia which invariably follow upon the heels of peace.

YOU who read this know better than I do that the
United States cannot declare war without its being
ratified by Congress. You also know that Congress is made
up of men selected and elected by you. Therefore it is up
to you individually to decide now whether Congress shall
ever be put in the position of having to ratify another

Nor is this a far cry. With civil strife in China with all
the great powers represented by armed forces there and in-
volved in the clash of interests in the Far East, I think of the
underlying attitude toward Japan as I have observed it in
the United States in these post-war years. It is an almost
exact parallel to the attitude which existed in England with
regard to Germany as far back as 1907. At that time war
with Germany was regarded as inevitable. People joked
about it and shrugged their shoulders,


iV1 V

/v/ b h confessing that, of

anc * sa "* :

yes ' ^ ome ** ay

suppose!" No one seemed to do any-

thin S

CQ an utte rly ignorant eet

, ;/ ' ,, A-LL "r

ff ll w ; wrlt " Mr. Glbbs I

bayonet through somebody, of crunch- don * know anything about aiplo-
ing his face in with the butt. No macy, or big business, or funda-

mentalism, or modernism, or city

about '" The


man now can be prevented from
leaving his wife and children and
going out and getting shell-shocked,
or maimed for life, or getting a shell
splinter in the stomach which rips
him open just sufficiently to give him
about six or seven hours in which to
die by inches, in which to call on the
Almighty to put him out of his agony.
And the women share equally with

government. Of all the things
that really matter, the only one I
know is war. Although, of course,
the only war I know is the World
War. Still, that wasn't a bad
apprenticeship and I picked up
quite a little knowledge in my
four and a half years in the line."


man in
cy of

faire. A few generals urged prep-
aration. One man wrote a lurid
melodrama called An Englishman' t
Home which was a frantic appeal to
arms. But none of the serious writ-
ers like Wells, or Galsworthy, or
Shaw, apparently considered the pos-
sibility of war to be of sufficient im-
portance to bother about, much less
to try to avert. And so we had our
little war!

Here in the United States I have
found much the same feeling about
Japan. It is in the air. Wherever



1 have gone, I have met men who told me that they are
going to be on the beach with a bomb in each hand for
the first Jap who lands. The papers carry dark reports of
the strides the Japs are making in aircraft. The American
fleet went sauntering off to Australia. Generals are urging
armaments, nominally for peace. My impression is that
the war idea is being allowed to take firm root in the public
mind. A few of the liberal weeklies register protests from
time to time, but none of your great writers has bothered
to put pen to paper to show the whole thing up. Yet if
you will study the situation for yourselves and accept no
ready-made opinions you will find, as I have been told by
several American officers, that the whole thing is nothing
but prejudice; there is no reason,
racial, political or economic, why
the United States and Japan
should smear the Pacific Ocean
with blood.

Most people read the headlines
the newspapers, and their

Abraham Lincoln said he didn't
want slavery. There is no slavery.
Jesus Christ said he wanted to
give the world Christianity.
We've got it. By a curious coin-
cidence both men were murdered.
It is none the less true that the
men who believed that they were
fighting to end war were also
murdered. And unless you and 1
do something, they died in vain.


thinking is done for the day. But
about a year after the Armistice
there was a lot of talk made in
England as to the need for de-
claring war on Russia. Mr. Lloyd
George was still very much in
power. But the working classes
of England did a little thinking.
They decided that a war with
Russia was not at all a good idea. In their own way they born, it was said to be

does possess a sober second sense, in other words that you
and I possess it, that I venture to write about moral pre-
paredness and individual responsibility.

ONE good thing has come out of the World War. It
is that some of the world's best minds have turned
their attention to peace. At present there are two schools
the old school, which still insists that peace can only be
bought at the price of armaments and eventual war; the
new school, which urges that war is an unsound method,
no longer intelligent, nor ethical, nor economic, and that
for it should be substituted arbitration.

The old school "says: "The next war may wipe out civili-
zation. We must fight to save it !"
The new school says: "If none
of us fight there won't be a next
war and civilization can't be
wiped out!"

Both schools are equally sincere.
But while the old school has
nineteen hundred and twenty-
seven years of historic failure be-
hind it, the new school, if it can
overcome the accumulation of
twenty centuries of habit-minded-
ness, has the whole future in
which to prove itself.

It is rather like flying. Be-
fore the Wright brothers were
"going against nature" to think

told Lloyd George that if he declared war they would of anybody flying. Today we send our letters by air mail.

declare a general strike which would tie up the entire
country. Mr. Lloyd George saw the point. There was
no war.

The moral is that if you want a thing badly enough you
can always get it. If we want to write war off the books,
we can do it. But we can't shrug our shoulders and say,
"Oh, that's not my job !" and pass the buck. We've got to
want it badly enough to crawl out of our little egos and
stand on our two feet and say so!

THERE have been lots of nice little articles against war
and nothing has happened. Mr. Bok paid a large sum of
money for a prize essay and probably not one reader

The idea of not fighting is still, to the old school, "going
against nature." But if culture and civilization mean any-
thing at all, they mean that man has progressed to the point
of realizing that the natural qualities of man must be
governed by the spiritual qualities; that our everyday life
is one continual "going against nature" in our obedience
not only to the ten commandments but to the local traffic
cop who, in spite of his usually offensive language, symbolizes
our recognition of things spiritual. We put him there be-
cause we believe in law and order, in decency and decorum ;
because we believe that we are all entitled to an equal right
to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It seems to me, therefore, that the new school's idea of

in a

... . thousand even remembers the name of the winner, not fighting gets an added value by going against nature in

Nor has the method been adopted. Senator Borah has said that it is a perfectly logical sequence and civilization.

that he would like to outlaw war. There is only one rea- you and I will keep on trying to further that idea, as

son why he can't-because you and I, all the men and Wright brothers did their flying, there is no reason wh

women who are going about our daily jobs in this country, peace should not be a part of ou:
in England, in France, in Germany and all the rest of them,
won't back him up. Manley Hudson, who is professor of

international law at Harvard, makes this comment about

of time.

Now the old school is continually dinning the war idea
into our ears. To do so it uses the press, the movies, the
educational system, the church, and through them all most

subtly uses the emotional side of us, the inertia side of us.
Pronouncement that war is illegal may prove useful. But half-awakened suspicions with its song of glory

it would be a mistake to put too much faith in it unless at . monuments to the men

the same time machinery is created which will make it possible and and the flag. It puts up mo

to mobilize the world's opinion in favor of peace in times of who have given their lives on the battle-held t

crisis. The difficulty is not that the masses of men desire to may li ve . It appeals to the cave man in us by placing in

fight; it is that the masses of men may not get a chance to ^ pu bii c parks enormous guns captured from the enemy,
express their desire not to fight. To make their voices articu- s j ne i es out for national worship the body of an unknown

late, to give effect to their abhorrence of war, machinery must *> , , t :, cture! '

exis for the quick assembling of conferences for the airing of A magnificent and dramatic ire.

difficulties and for the expression of the world's sober second But there could never be a adopt,

sense. methods and gestures without good reason.

It is because I believe with Professor Hudson that the world the world war the reason was profound. It was, I think,



the realization that the spirit of belligerence could no longer
survive without stimulation : that mankind was beginning
to show signs of what psychologists call failing war impulse.

Sex and hunger are instincts. Mankind breeds and feeds
in the same way as it breathes and sleeps, instinctively.
But it does not fight that way. It fights if the breeding or
feeding are interfered with or if it fools itself that these
processes are going to be interfered with. In other words,
there has got to be a reason to fight, an appeal to the mind
as well as the emotions.

The so-called instinct of fighting presupposes a hot-
blooded response to some personal stimulus such, for in-
stance, as an insult to one's wife, or the shooting of a
relative in the course of a vendetta. There is very little
personal stimulus in organized group fighting. Most of
the men who fought in the War didn't know what they
were fighting for. Nor is there anything hot-blooded about
it. It is the most cold-blooded business in the world, the
idea of which is to smash the enemy's morale by hook or
by crook, by fair means or foul in order, of course, to bring
about a renewed state of peace. It is just as ethical in war
to blockade the enemy's ports and starve his women and
children, as it is to pass the word round before an attack
and say "No prisoners today!" which means kill every-
body. It is just as ethical to sink neutral ships that are
fools enough to sail into the war zone, as it is to tell your
own people what a glorious victory your troops have just
won when, as a matter of fact, they have been slaughtered
by the thousand and you have suffered a ghastly defeat.

Remember how the mass had to be spoken, written,
preached, and sung into enthusiasm. After the first excite-
ment, the war impulse became so sluggish that freedom
of speech and action were universally suspended. The
truth was given an indefinite holiday, and any untruth that
would get the crowd into line was highly rewarded. Not
only were millions of dollars spent by every country in the
stimulation of the war impulse, and every publicity channel
organized for it, but for the first time in history the old
school had to admit that loss of morale was a force to
be reckoned with. Because there was so much of it, they
had to accept it as a regular casualty. In its express form
it was called shell-shock, and special hospitals had to be
provided for those who in psychological parlance had com-
pletely lost all war impulse. Think that over!

Remember how we had to be taught to hate the Germans,
by stories of atrocities. The Germans were educated tn
hate the Allies by the same kind of atrocity tale. Remember
also the various mutinies in England after the Armistice
because the men did not think they were being demobilized
fast enough.

A1 a matter of fact the old school are somewhat anxious.
They are afraid that the war game has become a
little too rough for the public to stomach. As far back as
the Hague Convention of 1899 they began to discuss ways
and means by which war might be maintained as a gentle-
manly way of settling international difficulties. They drew
up some Queensbury rules, arguing that it was not at all
nice to use dum-dum bullets that expand when they hit you
and rip out a great lump when they pass out the other side.
Of course, it was still perfectly all right to kill, but it
had to be done neatly and without mess. Various other
eight-ounce-glove principles were adnpted, but they all went
by the board during the World War under the plea of

military necessity. After all, it was stupid to fuss with a
mere expanding bullet when trench mortars and liquid
flame and gas did the job on a wholesale scale so much
more effectively.

But now that the show is over, the old school is trying
to hedge again. General Pershing, in a committee report,
recommended the abolition of chemical warfare "because
it is fraught with the gravest danger to non-combatants, and
because it demoralizes the better instincts of humanity!"
When a great man like Pershing makes such a statement,
it is up to us to analyze it. Let us take it half at a time.
He has recommended the abolition of chemical warfare

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesThe Survey (Volume 58) → online text (page 2 of 130)