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vidual and independent force in the world to ourselves, our neighbors and the world itself.
"Within a year we have witnessed what we did not believe possible, a great European conflict involving many of the greatest nations of the world. The influences of a great war are everywhere in the air. All Europe is embattled. Force everywhere speaks out with a loud and imperious voice in a Titanic struggle of governments, and from one end of our own dear country to the other men are asking one another what our own force is, how far we are prepared to maintain ourselves against any interference with our national action or development.
“We have it in mind to be prepared, but not for war, but only for defense; and with the thought constantly in our minds that the principles we hold most dear can be achieved by the slow processes of history only in the kindly and wholesome atmosphere of peace, and not by the use of hostile force.
“No thoughtful man feels any panic haste in this matter. The country is not threatened from any quarter. She stands in friendly relations with all the world. Her resources are known and her self-respect and her capacity to care for her own citizens and her own rights. There is no fear among us. Under the newworld conditions we have become thoughtful of the things which all reasonable men consider necessary for security and selfdefense on the part of every nation confronted with the great enterprise of human liberty and independence. That is all."
Readiness for defense was also the keynote of the President's address to Congress at its opening session in December, 1915; but despite its earnest plea for a military and naval program, and a lively public interest, the message was received by Congress in a spirit approaching apathy.
The President, meantime, pursued his course, advocating his preparedness program, and in no issue abating his condemnation of citizens with aggressive alien sympathies.
In one all-important military branch there was small need for anxiety. The United States was already well armed, though not well manned. The munitions industry, called into being by the European War, had grown to proportions that entitled the country to be ranked with first-class powers in its provision and equipment for rapidly producing arms and ammunition and other war essentials on an extensive scale. Conditions were very different at the outset of the war. One of the American contentions in defense of permitting war-munition exports—as set forth in the note to Austria-Hungary—was that if the United States accepted the principle that neutral nations should not supply war materials to belligerents, it would itself, should it be involved in war, be denied the benefit of seeking such supplies from neutrals to amplify its own meager productions.
But the contention that the country in case of war would have to rely on outside help could no longer be made on the face of the sweeping change in conditions existing after eighteen months of the war. From August, 1914, to January, 1916, inclusive, American factories had sent to the European belligerents shipment after shipment of sixteen commodities used expressly for war purposes of the unsurpassed aggregate value of $865,795,668. Roughly, $200,000,000 represented explosives, cartridges, and firearms; $150,000,000 automobiles and accessories; and $250,000,000 iron and steel and copper manufacturing.
This production revealed that the United States could meet any war emergency out of its own resources in respect of supplies. Its army might be smaller than Switzerland's and its navy inadequate, but it would have no cause to go begging for the guns and shells needful to wage war.
How huge factories were built, equipped, and operated in three months, how machinery for the manufacture of tinware, typewriters, and countless other everyday articles was adapted to shell making; and how methods for producing steel and reducing ores were revolutionized—these developments form a romantic chapter in American industrial history without a parallel in that of any other country.
The United States, in helping the European belligerents who had free intercourse with it, was really helping itself. It was building better than it knew. The call for preparedness, primarily arising out of the critical relations with Germany, turned the country's attention to a contemplation of an agreeable new condition_that the European War, from which it strove to be free, had given it an enormous impetus for the creation of a colossal industry, which in itself was a long step in national preparedness, and that much of this preparedness had been provided without cost. The capital sunk in the huge plants which supplied the belligerents represented, at $150,000,000, an outlay amortized or included in the price at which the munitions were sold. Thus. when the last foreign contract was fulfilled, the United States would have at its own service one of the world's greatest munition industries
HE months which brought the second year war to a close
were marked by increased activity on the part of all the navies engaged. Several single-ship actions took place, and the Germans pursued their submarine tactics with steady, if not brilliant, results.
It was during this period that they sent the first submersible merchant ship across the Atlantic and gave further proof of having developed undersea craft to an amazing state of efficiency. On their part the British found new and improved methods of stalking submarines until it was a hazardous business for such craft to approach the British coast. A considerable number were captured; just how many was not revealed.
After a slackening in the submarine campaign against merchant ships, due partly to a division of opinion at home and largely to the growing protests of neutrals, Germany declared that after March 1, 1916, every ship belonging to an enemy that carried a gun would be considered an auxiliary, and torpedoed without warning. (For an account of the negotiations with the United States in relation to this edict, see United States and the Belligerents, Vol. V, Part X.)
A spirited fight took place in the North Sea on March 24, 1916, when the Greif, a German auxiliary of 10,000 tons, met the Alcantara, 15,300 tons, a converted British merchantman. The Greif was attempting to slip through the blockade under
Norwegian colors when hailed. She parleyed with the British vessel until the latter came within a few hundred yards of her. Then, seeing a boat put out, the German unmasked her guns and opened fire. Broadside after broadside. In twelve minutes the Greif was on fire and the Alcantara sinking from the explosion of a torpedo. The Greif might have got away had not two other British vessels come on the scene, the converted cruiser Andes ending her days with a few long-range shots. One hundred and fifteen men and officers out of 300 on the Greif were saved, and the British lost five officers and sixtynine men. Both vessels went to the bottom after as gallant an action as the war had produced. The Greif was equipped for a raiding cruise and also was believed to have had on board a big cargo of mines. When the fire started by exploding shells reaching her hold she blew up with a terrific detonation and literally was split in twain. Officers of the Alcantara spoke warmly of their enemy's good showing. One of them said that they approached to within two hundred yards of the Greif before being torpedoed and boarding parties actually had been ordered to get ready. They were preparing to lash the rigging of the two vessels together in the time-honored way and settle accounts with sheath knives when the torpedo struck and the Alcantara drifted away helpless.
On the stroke of midnight, February 29, 1916, the German edict went into effect placing armed merchantmen in a classification with auxiliary cruisers. The opening of March also was marked by the deliverance of a German ultimatum in Lisbon, demanding that ships seized by the Portuguese be surrendered within forty-eight hours. Thirty-eight German and Austrian steamers had been requisitioned, striking another blow at Teutonic sea power. Most of these belonged to Germany. Coincident with Portugal's action Italy commandeered thirty-four German ships lying in Italian ports, and several others in her territorial waters. All Austrian craft had been seized months before, but the fiction of peace with Germany still was punctiliously observed by both nations. Despite this action Germany did not declare war upon her quondam ally.