The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, February 01, 1916, Page 12, Image 12

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    VOL 16, NO.. 2
The Commoner
Dunn Against Militarism
Extracts fron? a speech delivered by Hon. I.
J. Dunn ut Humboldt, Neb., February 4, 1916:
I am opposed to tho military program -which
In the name of preparedness, it is sought to
fasten upon this country. I am opposed to tho
increaso at this time in our army and navy,
recommended by tho President. When I speak
of militarism, I mako a distinction between the
policy pursued by our government for many
years, of maintaining an army and navy suffi
cient for our needs, and gradually adding to the
navy from year to year, and tho proposition to
spend hundreds of millions of dollars within the
next few years for tho purpose of malting ours
one of tho military nations of the world.
Preparation for war invites war, excites na
tions to war, and renders war inevitable sooner
or later. The organization of large armies and
navies by ono nation, leads other nations to pre
pare for war. When one increases its arma
ment others, who may justly fear attack, feel
that as a matter of self protection they must
arm and preparo for possible war.
When nations, living side by side, traversing
tho same seas, and seeking to control the same
avenues and marts of trade, spend millions of
dollars yearly on armies and navies, the inevit
able result sooner or later is war. All nations
know this. They organise armies and build
navies and prepare for war, because they expect
at some time to engage in war.
Preparation for war does not Insure peace nor
does it render war less probable. Training men
to fight, to bocome pfllcient in the art of killing
human beings, does not tend to preserve peace.
Tho war in Europe is due largely to military
preparedness; and to tho fear, jealousy and
hatreds that maintaining largo armies and
navicB has created among tho warring nations
And the jealousy, fear, hatred and suspicion
born of militarism, can be traced to the efforts
of tho war traffickers, who derive enormous
profits from war.
If Europe had had neither armies or navies,
there would bo peace and happiness there to
day. If it wore not for militarism there would
bo little hatred or ill feeling among tho peoples
of Europe.
War is always brutal, barbarous and savage.
It is at best, legalized butcUery. It is an appeal
to tho doctrine that might makes right. It is
without moral force and can not in any sense
determine questions of right and justice. Tho
Jdoa that because one nation may bo powerful
enough to overcome another by brute force, by
the shedding of blood and the destruction of
human life and property, that it therefore fol
lows that that nation is in the right, is utterly
Ono would imagine that in view of what is
now going on in Europe, wo would-hear no more
of tho doctrine that preparation for war is neces
sary to proservo peace.
We should preparo for peace, not war.
Tho policy of universal peace must bo adopted
sonio day, else tho nations that now constitute
tho civilized world will return to tho conditions
of the dark ages, which followed the fall of the
Roman empire. Another war such as Europe
is now engaged in may produce conditions sim
ilar to those of the early centuries of the Chris
tian era.
Preparation for war, in tho last analysis,
-makes war inevitable. Wars will end when the
tendency of men and nations is away from war,
and in the direction of peace; when the thought
and purpose and hope of the peoples of the
world is for peace; when men and nations exalt
peace and condemn war.
Many of those who now favor a military pol
icy, only a short time ago denounced Prussian
militarism as being tho cause of the war in
They now demand that we shall adopt mili
tarism. We are told that unless wo do adopt the
mad policy that has caused Europo to run red
with blood, we are in grave danger.
This military propaganda was conceived in
selfishness and greed and it has been promoted
by a campaign of falsehood and deception
which for shameless mendacity has had no par
allel in the history of this nation. With few ex
ceptions, the daily newspapers of all the larger
cities of the country, and practically all of the
magazines and periodicals published throughout
the eastern. half of the United States, have will
ingly, or through fear of the power of organized
wealth, engaged in an attempt to terrorize the
nation into adopting this proposed military pol
icy. This propaganda is based on the falsehood
that tho United States is unprepared to defend
itself from attack or invasion; that there is
danger of a combination of nations against us
when the present European war shall close, and
that wo would be unable to defend ourselves
from attack from any first class nation. This
charge is groundless. The fact is the nation is
better prepared and more thoroughly equipped
to defend itself on land and sea today than at
any timo during the last 50 years. And, al
though for moro than a century and a quarter
no nation has declared war against us, wo aro
actually in less danger from attack than wo have
been at any timo in the past. Every war in
which we have engaged sinco tho revolution, we
wero tho aggressor, tho one to declare war.
And now, notwithstanding that tho high
ways of time are strewn with the wrecks of na
tions and of peoples who believed in war, as the
only method of settling disputes between na
tions, we are invited 'to take up our pilgrimage
along the crimsoned, brutalizing pathway- of
militarism, to mark our milestone in the blood
and tears of innocent men and women, as other
nations, following the creed of Mars, have done.
Tho problem confronting us and tho world
today is whether human reason shall prevail
over human passion. If we could take the vote
of all the people in the world at present as to
whether they desire war or peace, I have no
doubt the vote would be overwhelming in favor
of peace. Confine it to any one nation, even
those at war, and it would still be for peace. If
tho masses of men favor peace, what forces,
conditions or tendencies prevent the wishes of
the people being realized? If mankind abhors
wars and desires peace, then why can not peace
be attained? If we will get a clear understand
ing of the forces interested in the tendencies
which produce war, we will have laid the foun
dation upon which universal peace and good will
may be established.
The danger to us as a nation, if there is dan
ger, is not because of a desire at this time, or
likely to be in the future, on the part of any
foreign nation to attack us. The real danger is
here. It is from the efforts of the war traffick
ers Avho are fathering this propaganda of decep
tion and falsehood that they may satisfy their
greed for profits. Nothing has occurred even
during the present war that will result in serious
ill will towards us after the war is ended, unless
it be that the war traffickers have furnished mu
nitions to some of the belligerents.
One of the purposes indicated by the contents
of the thousands of articles published in the
press and in the magazines throughout the coun
try during the last twelve months, is to sow the
seeds of distrust, hatred and suspicion of other
nations among our people. Articles aro now
being published in the press in some parts of
ulZF descJIbing aginary Evasions3 o
this country by foreign nations, and depicting
scenes intended to inflame the public md
against certain other countries, and to crate
he belief that some nation is preparing to at
tack us. If there is any treason odisToyaUy to
America in connection with the military nrona
gaiula those who are responsible for the tMngs
I have described are the guiltv ones WotJXi
and suspicion of other natKtotti
could have made any sacrifice necessary to have
met the demands of any other niitinn V.V S
-have been millions aheadin 'nSSey? p?ope ty
and human lives. No nation has ever bGPn
called upon, or ever has made in times of B.S
the sacrifices that these nations hav? made Zot
V16 KrtJeg?n- By reasonable sacrifice the in
describable horrors of war would Tflv t
avoided. Why was no! the policy of mutS
sacrifice adopted? Simply because . HvmJS? a
tions still hold to the barterodooWno that"
between nations "might makes right tnd tw
brute force id the only method in the last anait
-sis by which nations can settlo disputes w
will not Permit. the. half-civilizedTn-christiln
tribes, subject to our control here and in the
Philippines, to settle their disputes with the
tomahawk, scalping knife and bolo. No! We
consider that method barbarous, un-Christian
and uncivilized. But we, as a great Christian
nation, will resort to those methods ourselves,
and to others infinitely more destructive, to de
termine as between ourselves and some other
nation whether our contention is right and theirs
I am opposed to the President's" plan to in
crease the army and navy, not because I object
to the nation being fully prepared to defend
itself against attack. I oppose it on the ground
that the nation is prepared to defend itself
against any attack or invasion that is likely to
be attempted, now or in the future, unless by
adopting a military program we help to create
conditions which mako war inevitable.
I submit that this is not an opportune time
to chango our military policy by making unusu
al preparations for war. If wo carry out either
of tho programs now being advocated, the one
by the" President, or that of his secretary of war
and the extreme militarists, the nations of the
world will not be deceived or lulled into tho be
lief that we aro merely preparing for defense.
They will understand that if we build a navy
equal to or more powerful than that of- any
other nation, and increaso our army, in propor
tion, we will use them as an aggressive force to.
carry on war whenever in our judgment .our in
terests demand or justify it.
Wo ought to wait until after the- European
war ends and see whether or not the conditions
which, result from that war, and the action taken
by the nations engaged therein, will not enable
us to decrease instead of increasing our military
Another reason why the time has not arrived
is, that until the present war ends, we can not
tell just what kind of fighting craft on land and
sea will best suit our purposes of defense, if
such be our purpose. The equipment for the
army, navy and coagt defenses may all need re
vision at the close of the. European, war. .,.'
Furthermore, we ought no,4tp. cpnsir in
creasing the army and navy, or "our "stores of
guns and munitions, until the nation, "is pre
pared to take private profit out of war and prep
aration for war. Until the nation has adopted
the policy of manufacturing its own munitions of
war, and constructing its own battleships, there
should be no increase in the army or navy.
Neither should there be any further increase in
the expenditure for either, and congress ought
to refuse to make further appropriations until
this policy has been adopted, and the necessary
funds to construct government plants and fac
tories, appropriated. Of course, it will take some
time to erect government plants sufficient to
supply the army and navy and until they can be
constructed and equipped, it will be necessary
to purchase supplies from private concerns. This
talk about it being necessary to encourage pri
vate factories for the manufacture of guns and
munitions of war, to the end that the govern
ment may have a sufficient supply in time of
war, is nonsense.
The government has the right and the power
and it is its duty to take over any private plant
m case of necessity, in time of war, and utilize
nf PnvgVerpme Purposes, just as the nations
of Europe are doing. It did not take the great
steel manufacturing plants of the country long
nnnn?rXlieni,0f!erTe(1 laig6 ProfitS foreign
. unn Sio But I Presume, these gentlemen are
do ?n fiVhat !t W?uld not d0 t0 ask them to
fhVv , S"??,?4 of tlle United staes what
they have been willing and anxious to do and
Have been doing, for foreign countries
'in thlZ r,?aT WJiy the tIme is wt opportune
consulted ofH?!6 f country have not been
SnwSiuS ? e question' and have had no op
portunity to pass upon it, to have their sav in
determining to what extent, if any the armv or
Smnnwrrtr7n 1912 endorsed the
statement mJ? fmmentded- I have heard the
conveTuon nf i?nlH at thf demcratic national
convention at Baltimore declared for the tinifov
StttSSS1 lM It dw'nooSg
ance or lik ?, s'at?ment is made in ignor-
offlSy? POlicy tUa' -would guarantee
Furthermore, President . Wilson, iji ills' .men-