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Upon the author's return from Europe at the end of November, 1914, after an absence of two and a half months spent in France, England, Holland and Germany, he was gratified to see an awakening of the interest of the American public in the necessity for adequate national defence, which he had been striving for nearly nine years to arouse. This interest, stimulated by the war which has involved a large part of the civilized world, gave such unmistakable evidences of being more than superficial, and so numerous and earnest were the inquiries which he received from all over the United States during the month of December, 1914, as to the condition of our land forces and what ought to be done to strengthen them, that he resolved, during January, 1915, to set forth the facts concerning the military policy pursued by the United States since Revolutionary times. It had at last become apparent that there existed a need for a military history of the United States which gave the unvarnished truth, doubly so since our historians have painted in glowing colours the successes of our former wars but have suppressed with studied care the blunders which have characterised our military policy throughout the past.
Heretofore, the nearest approach to such a history was The Military Policy of the United States by Brevet Major General Emory Upton, United States Army, one of the most masterful works of its sort in any language. General Upton's book only covers the period from 1775 to the end of 1862, is much too technical for the average reader and, moreover, is not available to the general public. The author has taken Upton as his model — exactly as he did in a number of articles on the subject of national defence written during the
*— and in the present work he has embodied, either in whole or in part, nearly all of the most important paragraphs of that magnum opus. He has, on the other hand, corrected a number of errors discovered in Upton and has incorporated much important matter pertaining to the period from 1775 until the close of 1862 which had completely escaped that writer. The data from the first of January, 1863, down to the present day have been collected from a multiplicity of sources and have never before been embodied in a single work. Furthermore, the opposing forces and losses in the principal battles from the beginning of the Revolution to the end of the Philippine War have been compiled with great care from the most authoritative statistics
Of these articles by the author of the present work the most important were:
(1) Is the United States Prepared for War? Part I constituted the leading article in the North American Review for February, 1906. Part II appeared in the North American Review for March, 1906. The entire article was re-published in pamphlet form by the North American Review Company in May, 1907, accompanied by an introduction by the Honorable William H. Taft, Secretary of War, and by reviews from the Army and Navy Register of March 24, 1906, and from the Infantry Journal for April, 1906.
(2) The Truth Concerning the United States Army, which was published in the newspapers affiliated with the United Press Associations on January 14, 1911, et seq. This article formed the subject of debate in the House of Representatives on January 17, 1911 (vide the Congressional Record for Tuesday, January 17, 1911, vol. 46, No. 26, Sixty-first Congress, third session, pp. 1047–1050), and also appeared in the Congressional Record for March 3, 1911, vol. 26, No. 70, pp. 4228 and 4229. It was re-published in the Infantry Journal for May-June, 1911, pp. 848–863, accompanied by authorities for every statement of fact in the text and by a note by the Editor. It was reprinted in pamphlet form, Washington, June, 1911.
(3) The Army Unprepared for War, an article specially prepared for, and published in, The New York Times for Sunday, February 19, 1911, and other newspapers affiliated with the Publishers' Press. It was re-published, under the title of the United States Army and Or. ganized Militia To-day, in The Infantry Journal for July-August, 1911, pp. 43-60, accompanied by authorities for every statement of fact in the text and by a note by the Editor. This article was reprinted in pamphlet form, Washington, August, 1911.
(4) The Lessons of Our Past Wars, an article, with illustrations and a map, which was published in The World's Work for February, 1915, pp. 392–416.
and have been inserted in the footnotes as a useful reference.
In the present history there is scarcely a statement of material fact in the text for which the authorities are not given in the footnotes. Since nothing is more irksome to the average reader than to be confronted at the bottom of every page by a long array of citations, most of these footnotes have been relegated to appendices at the back of the book and subdivided according to the chapters to which they refer. The authorities thus quoted, although necessarily explanatory and supplemental, contain almost as much information as the text itself. The author therefore ventures to suggest that the reader, who is genuinely interested in the subject, should, upon finishing a chapter, turn to the footnotes under that heading and glance through them, even if he does not care to examine them in detail.
This book has been written under high pressure — only five months having elapsed from the beginning to its completion. The author has, however, personally verified every single reference cited — an amount of labour so herculean that it can scarcely be appreciated by any one who has not attempted a similar work. All italics and capitals have been inserted by the present author, unless otherwise specifically stated. In many instances the narrative has been submitted to officials and officers who have played important roles in the events described. By this precaution much valuable information was gained which could not be gleaned from official documents, and the side-lights of history have been thrown upon occurrences by those who, having been most intimately connected with them, were best qualified to interpret their true significance. It is a source of gratification to be able to record that in no case was any desire encountered to do more than to illustrate and explain the facts which had previously, although at times somewhat hazily, been set forth in official documents.
The final chapter, which treats of the land forces of the United States as they ought to be organized, was submitted,
by kind permission of the Chief of Staff, to the Army War College, as the author's purpose was to prevent the views therein expressed from being too greatly at variance with the scheme of organization now in the process of formulation by the War Department. Although the number of corrections made in that chapter was gratifyingly few, the author desires to state emphatically that he alone assumes entire responsibility for the suggestions made and that, under no circumstances, must they be taken to represent — save in the most general way possible — the views of the War Department, the Army War College or the General Staff.
If the author's strictures upon the militia appear to be unduly severe, it must be distinctly borne in mind that he has considered that force purely in the light of a military asset and has endeavoured to ascribe the proper value to it as such. He yields to no one in his appreciation of the high motives which have actuated the militia and volunteers in our past history. The sacrifices that they have made of business and family interests for the purpose of serving their country, and the unrivalled personal courage which they have shown, with few exceptions, cannot be too greatly commended. If, therefore, they have fallen short of the requisite standard that the United States has a right to demand of the troops to which it entrusts its national destinies, the blame must not be laid at the door of these patriotic men individually. The fault lies in the fact that they have always been, and still are, the victims of a most pernicious system, and it is against that system that the author's comments are directed.
The author desires to express his thanks and appreciation to the following officials and officers who have been extremely kind in rendering him valuable assistance in the preparation of this arduous work, namely, the Honorable Lindley M. Garrison, Secretary of War; the Honorable Henry L. Stimson, late Secretary of War; Brigadier General Hugh L. Scott, Chief of Staff, and his assistant, Captain Powell Clayton; Lieutenant-General Nelson A. Miles,