« PředchozíPokračovat »
When General Wood delivered his address in Princeton April 15, 1915, on the subject of "The Policy of the United States in Raising and Maintaining Armies,” many of us felt that his words should have a wider circulation; hence this volume.
To the Princeton address have been added two other addresses by General Wood. The first, "The Military Obligation of Citizenship” was delivered at the Lake Mohonk Conference, May 20, 1915. The second, “The Civil Obligation of the Army," was delivered at St. Paul's School, June 15, 1915. These addresses are here reprinted as they appeared in the press.
It is eminently proper that the American people should give especial consideration to the opinion of General Wood on the subject of military preparedness. We should listen to him with particular deference because of his intimate knowledge of our army, its strength and its weakness, and because in the event of war he is the one upon whom would rest the heaviest weight of responsibility to defend our homes against the attack of an invading enemy. General Wood is a soldier, and yet a man of peace. He hates militarism but believes in a reasonable preparedness and naturally shrinks from the task of leading forth the devoted but inexperienced young men of our land to be slaughtered like cattle at the hands of experienced and seasoned troops. He desires to maintain peace with honor, but would not sacrifice honor merely for the sake of a comfortable ease and security of peace. He is deeply
sensible of the fact that no amount of patriotic enthusiasm will compensate for the lack of military knowledge, and that in the time of peril the ability to meet the crisis is not born of the crisis itself, but its beginning and development must antedate the occasion when the crucial test is to be met and withstood, and that the easy going and popular idea that when the emergency comes unknown resources will be discovered and extraordinary powers suddenly evoked, is a fallacy as silly as it is false, and that it is disastrous to attempt to learn the art of war in the midst of war itself, because war is the time for action, not for education.
General Wood commands our attention because he himself has done more than merely talk and write on this subject. He has begun the work of general military education through the summer camps, and has attempted with extraordinary success
this intensive training of our young men in military theory and practice.
In all the pursuits of professional and business life we have formed the habit of seeking expert knowledge. General Wood possesses this knowledge. It is available in this volume. Our voters and legislators alike should seek the light where it is shining. It does not require an extraordinary amount of wisdom for a man to profit by his own mistakes. It is, however, the supreme test of wisdom and the proof of its presence and power when a man is capable of profiting by the mistakes of others. The same is true not only of the individual, but of any particular generation of people. It is difficult for those who live in the present to understand and profit by the mistakes of the generations before them. That generation is indeed wise that can so interpret the history of the past as to realize the signifi