The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, February 01, 1916, Page 13, Image 13

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    The Commoner
Army and Navy Expenditures of the Principal World Powers
Congressman Mondell, of Wyoming, in a speech in tho house December 17, 1915, gave tho following figures showing the expenditure
for the armies and navies of the world:
United States $1,616,898,105 United States $1,331,821,032 United States $2,9S4,719,197
Germany 1,756,453,041 Germany 354,055,078 Germany 2,110,508,119
Franco 1,774,631,558 Franco 789,242,168 France 2,563,873,720
Great Britain 2,486,126,900 Great Britain . 1,981,209,088 Great Britain 4,407,335,988
sage to congress December 7, 1914, declared
that the program that he is now advocating
would be a reversal of our entire policy as a na
tion. And again, it seems to be the impression
of some people . that because the President
recommends it, therefore, regardless of whether
it constitutes a reversal of the entire history of
the democratic party and of the nation, that
any one who refuses to accept tho President's
view is disloyal to the democratic party, or to
tho government.
Fortunately there are not many sensible
Americans who belong to this silly class or who
take any stock in the preachment that the
President is the keeper of tho national con
science. Every one admits that the President has a
perfect right to recommend to congress the
adoption of his so-called preparedness program.
If ho believed that it was the course that ought
to bo pursued it was his duty under the consti
tution to make tho recomnfendation. Ho recom
mended it as a non-partisan policy. He so
stated. The President would not recommend
something which he did not believe to bo for
the welfare of his country. It would be strange
indeed if, while holding to high ideals himself,
ho would, expect members of the congress or
citizens in private life to uphold and support a
policy merely because' it had -been recommended
by him, if it did not meet with their approval.
To carry" out the President's recommendations
at this time would, in my judgment, be to es
tablish a dangerous situation in this country. It
would mean paying millions of dollars In profits
to a group of powerful men and interests who
are taking advantage of the situation in Europe
to attempt to terrorize this country into adopt
ing a military policy. These men exercise undue
influence not only in the industrial but in the
political world, in this country. They have
shown by their conduct in the past, and by their
attitude in the manufacture of munitions of war
that they look upon war as a good thing. The
profit derived from the manufacture of arms and
munitions of war, not only furnishes great
temptation, but it places In their hands a mighty
influence to create conditions, even war itself,
which will increase the demand for their prod
ucts. This nation ought not to take a step in
the direction of placing in the hands of this
group of men the power to endanger the peace
and welfare of this and other nations. And to
adopt the policy recommended by tho President,
before the nation has declared its 'purpose and
adopted the policy of manufacturing its own
munitions of war would Te to do just that
Those who demand an increase in our stand
ing army, and the organization of a continental
army, declare that conscription will be neces
sary. This is doubtless true, if their program is
to be carried out. But if we are to have con
scription, I am in favor of a broader application
of that law than is contemplated by those who
are urging a military policy. Let us try the
conscription of wealth and property first, and of
men last. Let us place human life above the
dollar, in time of war, and preparation for war.
The rule of conscription should be applied to
wealth in preparing for war, in that tho cost
should fall upon wealth, and not upon industry,
consumption and the necessaries of life. As the
demand for a large army and navy comes largely
from those who fear for their vast property in
terests, to the end that their riches may be se
cure from attack from abroad, and more par
ticularly from danger at home, let wealth bear
its just share of the burdens. In time of war
wealth should be taken under, conscription, to
any extent required for purposes of defense.
The conscription of men should follow, in case
of need. The government in time of war, and
preparation for war, should apply the law of
conscription to arms, armament, and munitions
of war, paying therefore at, such prices as the
government may fix, just as it does when it ap
propriates the services and lives of men for war
purposes. Then too, tho government should ap
ply tho law of conscription to wealth and se
cure such funds as may be necessary to equip
and support tho army and navy.
Tho government may take the son from his
mother, the husband from his wife, tho father
from his children, without regard to conditions
or circumstances and send him out upon the
battlefield to become food for powder. It takes
not only his services, but if need be, his life,
and without compensation. It is not a matter
of contract between tho citizen and the govern
ment. Tho government does not warrant that
he shall be returned to his family or that any
sum will be paid in compensation for his life,
if that shall be sacrificed. It offers no real com
pensation to his family, and can give none, in
fact. It may pay something in the way of dol
lars and cents for the pecuniary loss, but this
is not compensation. Why not treat vast ac
cumulations of property in the same way? If
it Is necessary to prepare for war, why not com
pel wealth to serve as well as men? Why not
apply the rule of conscription to tho industries
that manufacture arms, ammunition and arma
ment? It is proposed to Bay to tho young men of this
country, that they must enter the army, and
give certain services, and the government will
fix the price for these services. Then why not
apply the same rule to property, to guns, ammu
nition, battleships and other war supplies. Why
pay high prices for equipment to carry on war
or to prepare for war, while taking human flesh
and blood for nothing, or practically nothing?
If the government can fix the price at which
human beings may be taken, and destroyed if
need be, as instrumentalities of war, why may it
not fix the price at which guns and armor plate
and munitions of war shall bo secured for like
purposes? If human lives are to bo held cheap,
then why not iron and steel and powder? If tho
living bulwarks, the armament of flesh and
blood, can be taken by the government, without
limit and without price, then why must tho gov
ernment cringe and bargain and contract and
guarantee that it will pay tho pound of flesh
demanded by the bond holder, tho money
changer, and the munition ring before it may
lay its hands upon the sacred thing called prop-
erty? I say treat men and property according
to the same rule, and apply conscription to both.
This of-course would be evolutionary, or revolu
tionary, and treason to the war king and the
patriots of greed, and if put into practice would
cause revolution in any country in the world.
That is why I favor it. There ought to be revo
dution In every country in JJie world so far as
war" and nreparation for war is concerned. Not
a revolution of blood and destruction, but a rev
olution in sentiment and In practice that will
end war and preparation for war.
Let the people declare in favor, of applying
tho law of conscription to wealth as well as
men, in time of war, and preparation for war,
and the forces that now favor war and seek to
embroil the nations in war will lose their inter
est in this international pastime.
President Wilson in his message to congress
December 7, 1914, said:
"More than this carries with it a reversal of
the whole history and character, of our policy.
More than this, proposed at this time, permit me
to say, would mean merely that we had lost our
self-possession; that we had been thrown off our
balance by a war with which we have nothing
to do, whose' causes can not touch us, whose
very existence affords us opportunities of friend
shin and disinterested service which should
make us ashamed of any thought of hostility or
fearful preparation for trouble. This is assured
ly the opportunity for which a people and a gov
ernment like ours were raised up, tho oppor
tunity not only to speak but actually to embody
and exemplify the counsels of peace and amity
and tho lasting concord which Is based on Jus
tice and fair and gonerous dealing.
"Let there bo no misconception. The country
has been misinformed. Wo have not been neg
ligent of national defense. We arc not unmind
ful of the great responsibility that rests upon
Secretary Daniels, in his report to the last
session of congress, December, 1914, said:
"The naval appropriations In our own coun
try have doubled in a dozen years, and have
gone up by leaps and bounds In other countries.
If this mad rivalry in construction 'goes on, tho
burden will become too heavy for any nation to
In his report of December, 1913, he says:
"Tho growing cost of dreadnaughts, of pow
der, and of everything that makes an efficient
navy, gives reason to pause. The heavy expense
commands national and international consider
ation. Ten years ago our largest battleships
cost $5,282,000. Tho next dreadnaught will
cost $14,044,000. When is this accelerating
expenditure to bo reduced? If it is not
hastened by appeals for the peaceful settlement
of national differences, the day Is not far .dis
tant when tho growing burdens of taxation for
excessive war and naval expenditure will call a
In a statement issued a short time ago, Claude
Kltchln, democratic leader of the house, said:
"At the expiration of the five-year period for
the program (the program recommended by
President Wilson) this country will then bo ex
pending on its navy and array more than any
nation in the world in times of peace ever ex
pended on its army and navy; more than Eng
land, with her vast navalism; more than Russia
or Germany with their huge militarism. At the
beginning of the European war Germany was
expending for past wars and preparations for
wars (on its army and navy) 55 per cent of the
total amount of revenues collected; Japan, 45
per cent; Great Britain, 37 per cent; France, 35
per cent; the United States, over 60 per cent.
With the proposed military and naval program
enacted into law the United States will bo ex
pending over 70 per cent of its total revenues;
that is, out of every $100 collected from the
people, over $70 will go into militarism and
navalism, including pensions, leaving less than
$30 for all other functions of our government
and for all other benefits of the people."
A number of "preparedness" papers are trying
to make it appear that Kansas favors the biff
appropriation program.
Here is a list of organizations that have form
ally gone on record against it in Kansas:
The Kansas State Teachers' association, in a
convention of 6,000.
The Kansas State Grange, with 24,000 mem
bers. The Kansas State Farmers union, with 21,000
The Kansas State Federation of Labor, with
30,000 members.
The Kansas State Mutual Insurance associa
tion, with 60,000 members.
The Kansas State Socialist society, with 26,000
More than 100 churches, 150 fraternal organ
izations and forty women's clubs.
Besides these state organizations there is
scarcely a week that from three to half a dozen
local farmers institutions have not adopted reso
lutions against it
Up to this time not one organization of any
description has declared FOR the "preparedness"
program in the state of Kansas. Exchange.