The United States in the World War

By John Bach McMaster | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
AN EMBARGO DEMANDED

As month followed month and the war showed no signs of a speedy ending, there sprang up in our country, chiefly in the states along the Atlantic seaboard, a feeling that the time had come for the United States to prepare for defense. We have, it was said, a small but highly trained and efficient regular army. We have a small but undoubtedly efficient navy, and a National Guard with depleted ranks and antiquated guns and probably no ammunition. But the most careless observer of events in the old world must have seen that three implements of war- fare, never before used, have made the means of defense once sufficient on land and sea now little better than useless. These three are the submarine, the aeroplane and the great siege guns which battered down the forts around Liége. Siege guns are not likely ever to trouble us; but have we submarines and aeroplanes and heavy long range guns to defend our coast, and where are the men to man them? If it is necessary to have an army of any size and a navy of any number of ships, it is equally necessary that the army and navy shall be large enough and so equipped with the very latest implements of warfare that they may really defend the country, for we know not when our day may come.

That Germany in her greed for world dominion might find it necessary to deal with us had not passed unnoticed by her military writers. Only a few years before this time General von Edelsheim, a member of the German General Staff, had duly considered it in his pamphlet "Operationen Uber See."

Operations against the United States of North America would have to be conducted in a different manner. During the last years political friction with that state, especially friction arising from commercial causes, has not been lacking, and the difficulties that have arisen have mostly been settled by our giving way. As this obliging

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