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War Stories

The Shot Heard Round The World
On April 19, 1775, was fired "the shot heard round the worl...

At School Near The Lines
The boys and girls in America have listened with great inte...

Let Us Save The Kiddies
At 12:20 noon, on Saturday, May 1, 1915, there steamed out ...

Carry On!
It's easy to fight when everything's right, And yo...

Nations And The Moral Law
I believe there is no permanent greatness to a nation excep...

The Torch Of Valor
The torch of valor has been passed from one brave hand to a...

Can War Ever Be Right?
After England had entered the war against the Central Power...

Although I am an American, I am still in the French aviatio...

A Ballad Of French Rivers
Of streams that men take honor in The Frenchman ...

Cardinal Mercier
He is an old man, nearly seventy, with thin, grayish-white ...

The Murder Of Captain Fryatt
Captain Charles Fryatt was in command of a British steamshi...

Why We Fight Germany
Because of Belgium, invaded, outraged, enslaved, impoverish...

The Russian Revolution
The controller, as he is called on the Siberian railroad, w...

The Hun Target The Red Cross
All the civilized nations of the world have agreed to respe...

The Destruction Of Louvain
More than one hundred years ago, Napoleon, the famous Frenc...

Edith Cavell
Americans are particularly interested in the story of Edith...

And The Cock Crew
"I hate them all!" said old Gaspard, And in his we...

Alan Seeger
As England and the world lost Rupert Brooke, so America and...

Bacilli And Bullets
Sir William Osler, one of the greatest medical men in the w...

Daring The Undarable
We are thirty in the hands of Fate And thirty-one wi...

The Beast In Man

A German leader once said, "The oldest right in the world is the right
of the strongest." This is true and will always continue to be true as
long as the world is made up only of inanimate matter and lifeless
forces and of living, thinking beings who consider "the strongest" as
meaning the powers or things that can cause the greatest destruction
and the most terrible evil. The beasts recognize these as the
strongest, and without question admit that the oldest right in the
world is the chief right in the world.

But as men have become civilized, they have come to fear destruction,
and even the loss of life, less and less, and have learned to feel the
strength of beauty, truth, justice, mercy, purity, and innocence. So it
comes to pass that Robert Burns mourns when his plow turns under a
mountain daisy or destroys the home of a field mouse. Because he feels
the influence of the innocent and the helpless, the "wee, modest,
crimson-tipped flower" and the "wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous
beastie," he gives us two of the most beautiful poems in the English
language, poems that, by the power of their tenderness, truth, and
beauty, have brought tears to the eyes of many a strong, brave man who
feared no enemy.

Such was the power of Joan of Arc when she led the French soldiers to
battle and to victory,--simply the power of her belief and her faith,
for she was a simple, untrained peasant girl, knowing nothing of how
battles are to be won.

Such is the power of the English nurse, Edith Cavell, executed by the
Germans as a spy, because she helped English and Belgians to escape
from the German horrors in Belgium by crossing the line into Holland.

Such is the power of the murdered mothers and children on the
Lusitania, the memory of whose wrongs cause English and American
soldiers to go "over the top," crying "Lusitania! Lusitania!"

Such is the power of undaunted Cardinal Mercier, who in the very midst
of German officers and troops, denounces German atrocities in Belgium,
and yet is himself untouched.

The exercise of the right of the strongest, the right which comes
through might, brings about war. General Sherman, who knew the
terrors of war from what he saw in our Civil War, said, "War is hell."
He could not describe its horrors and so he used the one word that
means to most people the most horrible state and place in which human
beings can suffer. For many years most men have realized that war is
the most dreadful scourge of the human race, and that it should be
abolished. But as is always the case, men cannot agree,--which is, of
course, the chief reason why there are wars. In the face of terrible
calamities, disasters, and great crises, men will agree. Perhaps the
World War will prove the great disaster that will lead men to do away
forever with war.

For twenty-five years before the world's peace was rudely broken by the
ambitions of Germany, the people of other countries had been urgently
seeking some means of doing away with war. Peace societies had been
organized and wealthy men had donated money to be used in efforts to
secure the permanent peace of the world. A Peace Palace had been
erected at The Hague from funds donated by the American
multi-millionaire, Andrew Carnegie, who had also set aside a fund of
$10,000,000 for the purpose of keeping the world at peace. The Nobel
prize of $40,000 was awarded annually to the person anywhere in the
world who had done the most for peace. Theodore Roosevelt, while
President, won this by settling the Russian-Japanese War. The Tsar of
Russia had proposed at one of the conferences of nations held at the
Peace Palace that the nations should gradually do away with military
preparations. We can see now why all these efforts failed. Germany had
her mind and heart set on war and on conquering the world.

Most men agree that war is unnecessary, and before the German attack
upon Belgium and upon the liberty of the world, many leaders of thought
in other countries were sure a great war could never occur in modern
times. One group argued that its cost in money would be so great that
no nation could meet it for more than a few months. But the United
States is, in 1918, spending nearly $50,000,000 a day for war, and she
can continue to do so for some years, if necessary. The cost in dollars
will never prevent war nor make a great war a very brief one.

But think of what the cost of the war for one year would accomplish if
spent for the purposes of peace, for construction instead of
destruction. Ten billion dollars, the approximate cost of the war for
the United States for the year 1918, if put at interest at four per
cent, would earn $400,000,000, or about the cost of the Panama Canal.
This interest would send 500,000 young men and women to college each
year, and pay all their necessary expenses. It would do away with all
the slums and poverty of our great cities. If the cost to one nation
for one year would, as a permanent fund, accomplish this, it is easy to
realize that the world could almost be made an ideal one in which to
live, if the money that all the nations spend upon the World War could
have been saved and made a permanent fund for the betterment of world

Another group said, "Modern science has made war so terrible and so
destructive that men will not take part in it, or if this is not true
now, it soon will be." When we think of what has occurred and is
occurring every day in the present war, this seems also unlikely.

When we read of guns that will carry a shell weighing a ton for over
twenty-five miles which will, when it explodes, destroy everything
within an eighth of a mile, and of guns less destructive that will
carry over seventy-five miles, almost wholly destroying a church and
killing sixty-five men, women, and children; when we read of bombs
dropped from the sky, killing innocent women and children, hundreds of
miles from the field of battle; of the terrible work of poison gases
and of liquid fire; of battles above the clouds from which men fall to
death in blazing air-planes, and of battles beneath the waves in which
men sink in submarines to be suffocated to death; of an entire ridge
being undermined and blown up by tons of dynamite, with an explosion
heard nearly one hundred miles away and killing thousands: how can we
believe that war is likely soon to become so terrible that men will not
engage in it, if they are willing to do so now? Sir Gilbert Parker well
says: "Guns have been invented before which the stoutest fortresses
shrivel into fiery dust; shells destroy men in platoons, blow them to
pieces, bury them alive; death pours from the clouds and spouts upward
through the sea; motor-power hurls armies of men on points of attack in
masses never hitherto employed; concealment is made well nigh
impossible. These things, however, have but made war more difficult and
dreadful; they have not made it impossible. They have only succeeded in
plumbing profounder depths of human courage, and evoking higher
qualities of endurance than have ever been seen before."

No, most people who are thinking about the subject to-day are agreed
that wars will not end because of the destructive power of men, but
through the constructive power of human feeling and intellect. When the
great majority of men recognize, as so many do now, that as the world
exists to-day, no nation can ever gain by a war of aggression, but that
the nation at war loses her best, her young and strong, and has left
only the old and defective who cannot fight, that she loses her
industrial and commercial prosperity as well, and through these losses
loses more than she can ever gain by conquest; when all nations realize
that the destruction of great cathedrals like Rheims, of the beautiful
town hall at Lille, of the unique Cloth Market at Ypres, and of a
University like that of Louvain makes the whole world poorer beyond
measure, then will men agree that no small group of men, and no single
nation shall, in the future, be allowed to cause war; and then they
will organize some power strong enough to prevent war.

Then will come the League of Nations to Enforce Peace, or the
Parliament of Man of which Tennyson wrote in "Locksley Hall"
seventy-five years ago. The poet seemed as in a vision to see the
present World War with its terrors and its battles in the air. Perhaps
his vision of the abolition of war and the federation of the world is
equally true.

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunder storm;

Till the war drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle flags were furled
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

Copyright by Underwood & Underwood, N.Y.]

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