With Japan’s denunciation of the Washington treaty, that agreement and the succeeding London treaty will cease to exist on New Year’s Day, 1937. Immediately in all maritime nations those to whom the old ratios seemed dangerously to limit the sovereign right of self-defense will be free to build, each to that elusive dream of absolute security, his country’s own peculiar needs. No longer will the size or the composition of fleets be dictated by statesmen in compromise agreements with a foreigner. It will be each for himself – and the devil take the hindmost. Freedom to redesign and to expand our Navy we shall have – and others will have it too – freedom bounded only by the size of the dockyard forges and the depth of the public purse. What use shall we make of this new found freedom, and where, we may ask ourselves, is it likely to lead?
From their very inception, the Washington and London treaties were forced through over the protests of a large section of professional opinion both here and abroad. The Japanese Navy was frankly loath to accept the apparent inferiority of the original 5:3 ratio, and consented to it only after the non-fortification agreement was thrown in to tip the delicately poised scales of those first difficult and protracted negotiations. Conservatives in Great Britain honestly bemoaned the loss of her historic preponderance at sea and accepted the abrogation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance only at the insistence of the Dominions. Somehow they felt that the Empire could and should have overtopped our partially completed 1916 building program. And in the United States, many leaders of naval thought professed to see in the outcome of the Washington conference an unnecessary, useless, and dangerous eclipse of American sea power, a sacrifice of our birthright of unquestioned security for a mess of international pottage.
Eight years later, when the ratification of the London treaty held the Senate in session over seven stiffing weeks of acrimonious debate, in which American statesmen stood opposed to the majority of American naval opinion, few indeed were the members of the profession of arms who did not regard the cruiser compromise and the concessions to Japan’s ratio as fully sufficient to justify its rejection. It is a historical fact that the naval agreements never had the full backing of those charged with the heavy duty of preparing for national defense at sea.
Beneath the technical arguments against the treaties, there was often evident the basic philosophy which holds that arms rivalry is inevitable, that mutual curtailment or even mutual stabilization is impossible, and that, in the last and final analysis, war readiness is the natural expression of national strength and national greatness. Competitive armaments, this philosophy maintains, are inexorably rooted in the past and in the changeless nature of man himself. Neither the Versailles treaty nor the treaty of Washington, according to this point of view, marked a turning point in history. The World War, it holds, was but “one round in a perpetual prize fight” and unlimited preparations for the next are inherent in the war- scarred course of historical evolution.
Perhaps those who boldly expressed these once unpopular views were wiser than all the so-called “idealists” who looked for an abrupt change in the post-war world, a genuine renunciation of war and the threat of war, written, not in the gold fountain-pen ink of diplomacy, but in the red blood of ten million soldier dead. Perhaps they were wiser even than the statesmen who saw in the arms agreements a practical middle course, a compromise between competitive building and dangerous weakness. Surely the withdrawal of Germany and Japan from the League and the insistence of these two nations on armaments apparently aimed at forcibly altering the status quo bears them out. In the light of recent events, bold indeed would be the theorist who denied the imminence of war and advocated further concessions to the exploded ideal of disarmament by example.
It is always interesting to speculate on the might-have-beens. We may well ask ourselves today if the world would not have been better off had there been no so-called disarmament treaties. Surely the last preliminary conversations seem to have been more of an arms advertising show than a statesmanlike gathering where moderations tended to soften and to compromise the inherently competitive basis on which the instruments of future wars are of necessity maintained. And even the partially successful conferences, in prescribing high limits toward which to build as well as low limits to which to disarm brought into dangerously sharp relief the conflicting ambitions of the powers. They set up a structure of agreement which prevented any real curtailment of navies below the maximum prescribed levels. As a genuine approach to the Utopian ideal of complete disarmament, they were innocuous. Welcomed by the pacifists as epoch-making advance, these compromise treaties were at first a bulwark for apprehensive admiralties and foreign offices. For, in the general war weariness of 1918 and 1919, and in the reluctance then apparent among the masses even to think of a future conflict (unless in truth it be the promised world revolution), there was wave of revolt against the machinery of war which might well have swept away the armies and navies of the victors, leaving them only the police minimum they themselves imposed upon the vanquished. When one recalls how the huge fleets and armies, which after twenty-three years of fierce and extended warfare, finally sent Napoleon an exile to St. Helena, melted away in 1815 in a general demobilization which reduced the British fleet from 113 line-of-battle ships to a mere 13, and when one contrasts all this with the increase of standing armies and the renaissance of navies which, a few years after Versailles, accompanied as complete a victory and as firm an alliance of the victors, then it seems that we must seek the explanation of modern armaments, not in an unchanging human nature, but rather in ae problems peculiar to the modern world. Never before has man so consciously tried to reduce the instruments and to lessen the probability of war, and never before has he so signally failed.
The ending of the naval treaties will ark another and ominous advance along e dangerous road of post-war rearmament. The heavy responsibility lies not at our door. Statesmen and naval officers soon be faced with momentous decisions. For, whether or not the compromise agreements were just to all signatories, it must now be acknowledged that, at least for America, Britain, and Japan, fixed a definite naval policy and a definite fleet to be its instrument. Except for the larger questions inherent in the negotiation of the treaties themselves, service opinion has been relieved from the moot problems of fleet size, fleet composition and even to a certain extent, fleet gating areas. For thirteen years, naval of policy has consisted of the mere repetition of treaty paraphrases, “second to none,” “in accordance with treaty limitations” But, beyond the treaties, our future course now lies alarmingly open and uncharted with all familiar international aids to navigation removed. Perhaps we shall miss them. Perhaps we shall even set them up again ourselves.
Unless by some unforeseen miracle the treaties were to be renewed in the final conference, the first and largest problem which must be met on New Year’s Day, 1937, will be the realignment and restatement of American naval philosophy. Free at last from the old restrictions, shall we recommend the creation of a fleet and the necessary over-seas bases more fully able to sustain our foreign policies? And what, in truth, are the policies the Navy is designed to vindicate? The defense of the Philippines, the integrity of China, the open door, the freedom of the seas? If these phrases one and all sum up desires so deeply implanted in our national consciousness that we will, if need be, achieve them sword in hand, then what measure of preparedness at sea will thoroughly suffice to secure them?
The answers to these questions are not easy. Much water has run under the bridge since the Conference of Washington. In 1922, we had a definite head start toward absolute preponderance. It was not fully achieved. It was not unquestioned abroad. But the heavy armor and the mighty guns of the superdreadnoughts were already assembled in the navy yards. In those now distant days of our position of world leadership, with its pomp and power and its attendant burdens, we were building for strength sufficient to face alone any alliance of foes even in distant waters. The 1916 Navy was to be the sword of our world supremacy abroad rather than the shield of our traditional isolation at home.
Today the picture has completely changed. We lag dangerously behind in the race for even the treaty navy. We are committed to withdrawal from the Philippines. Even with the lapsing of the nonfortification agreement, it seems unlikely that American public opinion two years hence can again be convinced of the necessity or the wisdom of creating in the Orient a properly furnished and adequately defended operating base from which our fleet could assert its authority in Far Eastern seas. Lacking such a base, sure success calls for a fleet superiority so excessive as to be most difficult of attainment, especially in the face of unrestricted counter-building. With all their faults, the treaties cut both ways. If they denied to us the sea strength and the bases necessary for victory, by the same token they denied to Japan the fleet and the fortifications necessary for absolute and overwhelming mastery.
With all restrictions removed, preparations for advance and for defense will mount together, and the power for successful war in the Orient can be won only- after our building overtops the inevitable defensive measures we must expect in reply. We face a long pull up the uncertain and ever steeper slope of naval competition. No one doubts our financial and industrial fitness eventually to -win the race, but even the most casual student of public opinion cannot but doubt the willingness of our people wholeheartedly to enter.
Unless the all-important question of national honor should in the future intrude itself into what today are still prosaic colonial and trade problems, attending the unwelcome aftermath of our one chance fling at distant imperialism, surely there can be nothing in our Far Eastern policies of themselves to command the full allegiance of America’s latent strength for war. In Ireland and in Egypt, we have recently seen the withdrawal of a great power from far older and far more binding commitments. There is not yet any aspect of our position in the Orient so deeply involved in national pride as to preclude its re-examination two years hence in the cold light of political and naval realities.
For those who profess to see in the diplomatic problems of today the first and ominous storm clouds of future wars, a vague trumpet from afar seems to summon America to the East, there and now to champion our Western civilization lest its hard-won position be irretrievably lost. The questions of the hour are for them merely warnings of an Armageddon, inexorable and foreordained. Against this grim prophecy is set the practical school of thought which holds that the immediate problems are sufficient unto the day and regards the future through glasses colored by an abiding faith that we shall in due time triumphantly meet whatever challenge Fate may hold hidden in the darkness of the centuries yet to be. This school would wisely fortify our present security of armed isolation in our own sphere, and, rejoicing in our aloofness, would
. . . take the Cash, and let the Credit go, Nor heed the rumble of a distant drum.
The defense of the Philippines, so soon to be independent, the integrity of China, if indeed there be a national entity by that name rather than a distracted and racket- ridden territory, the unknown increment of Chinese trade which we might lose through having the future door partially closed by a not unuseful Japanese policeman, these are the immediate prizes of our historic policies if backed by a fleet sufficient for victory in the Orient. Can the American public be persuaded that, in their most extreme interpretation, they are worth the extended efforts and the grave risks necessary to attain them? I doubt it. Surely those who shudder at joining the World Court as a dangerously “entangling alliance” forbidden by the fathers, might well draw back aghast at the prospect. Surely the “Little America” school, who think to guide our future along the secure and tranquil paths of purely national defense and national self-containment, will throw the full weight of their considerable influence against reviving and refortifying these time-honored aspirations.
There is, however, one political school which might back a firm policy in the Orient, though it is doubtful if its adherents could be brought to approve of the navy necessary to make such a policy effective. I refer to those we might call the internationalists. They can always be counted on as the first to demand sanctions against a covenant-breaking state. Unfortunately, they are often the last to prepare the military instruments by which their sanctions can alone be enforced. A recent speaker in the House of Commons referred to these theorists as “blood-thirsty pacifists,” idealists to whom peace everywhere is so precious that they would willingly draw an insufficient or even almost nonexistent sword in its defense. They often refer hopefully to the efficacy world opinion. They hint at the hidden power of economic boycotts. Apparently they think to keep the peace by methods so little short of war that war itself is almost sure to result.
It is, of course, true that never have we had an all-inclusive league whose pronouncements could be implemented by the combined military and navel might of all but the covenant breaker. Whether the League of Nations as its founder conceived it might have vindicated perpetual peace at the sword’s point now seems merely a matter for academic speculation. Mankind may have missed the really decisive turning in 1919, the turning that led to a better and nobler world than one composed of selfish and constantly warring nations. Perhaps we ourselves were responsible for the dissipation of the greatest of all the stateman’s visions. But today it is gone beyond recall. It is now but the stuff that dreams are made of. From those who would even now break a lance in support of its vanished ideals we can expect instant agreement with any diplomatic move aimed at freezing the status quo, but little or no constant backing for the naval establishment inherent in so alarming and far reaching a conception of our international responsibilities.
If then, with the lapsing of the treaty restrictions, it seems unlikely that public opinion can be persuaded to implement our Far Eastern aspirations with the fleet fully sufficient for their instant realization, what of our historic commitment to “the freedom of the seas”? Does this policy require an immediate increase in our naval power over and above the old treaty parity with Great Britain?
The freedom of the seas, better phrased perhaps as the vindication of neutral rights, is a policy which, even more than the size and composition of our future fleet, must now be re-examined in the light of recent trends and probable future events.
Nations subject to blockade and the neutrals who may wax rich by supplying them with the economic sinews of war have always claimed that sea-borne trade should be subject to a minimum of belligerent control. As against this conception, nations strong at sea have sought to deploy their cruisers, backed by the dormant power of their battle squadrons, so as to stop all imports into enemy countries even when carried in neutral bottoms, and, directly or by substitutions, transshipped through contiguous territory.
At the very beginning of our history, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson stated the extreme theory that
those who choose to live in peace retain their natural right to . . . carry the produce of their industry, for exchange, to all nations, belligerent or neutral, .... without injury or molestation; and, in short, that the war among others shall be, for them, as if it did not exist.
When two decades later our shipping was caught between the upper and nether millstones of French decrees and British Orders in Council, Secretary of State James Monroe envisioned a kind of holy war for the vindication of neutral rights against both France and England, muttering Mercutio’s curse on both their houses.
And yet, in 1917, we found ourselves at least tacitly associated with the most extreme use of sea power against neutral trade. Without protest, we participated in the rationing of Holland and the Scandinavian nations lest abnormal imports increase their domestic prosperity and render their markets more useful to German purchasers. In the stress of war, we, the historic sponsor of the freedom of the seas, the champion of the right of neutrals to trade in liberally defined non-contraband with both belligerents, sanctioned an extension of distant blockade to the point where it imposed heavy deprivations on innocent bystanders, whose only crime was that their markets inevitably responded to procurement pressure backed by the last gold mark in the German treasury.
In fact, the whole trend of history and of economic development today is away from the theory of neutral rights. When Grotius wrote De Jure Belli et Pads, an army was an army. The forces of modern life have made it a nation. With almost everything except cosmetics included in the military supply tables, little or nothing can be called non-contraband. With a rapid development of ports and railways, any voyage toward an enemy country can logically be conceived as a continuous voyage and the neutral terminus as merely an entrepot.
Even the Fourteen Points advocated that the seas be free only when not “closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.” It may be true that we were never a party to these international covenants and that everywhere their force is weakening. It is, however, equally true that there remains the hope, amounting almost to an expectation, that a blockade invoked against a nation which sees fit to tear up the whole post-war structure of mutually protective pacts will not be resisted in the sacred name of unlimited neutral rights.
To accept this theory would be to delegate great power in Europe to the British Cabinet and to the British Navy. And yet, in the Orient, we might conceivably demand the same powers. It is not impossible that we shall become blockaders in a war which we will never enter unless we too believe ourselves to be crusaders against aggression. A nation whose navy ranks, and will probably always rank, with that of the greatest at sea, may find its world mission and its interests to lie along the path of belligerent rather than of neutral rights. If war should come, and after months, perhaps years, of heavy suffering and titanic effort, we should fight our way to a position from which our victorious squadrons could impose some form of distant sea control, even then must depend on the sympathy of other sea powers lest our old pronouncements on neutral rights backed by their fleets return to plague the inventor and to render useless all our sacrifices.
If then it seems unlikely that a reinterpretation of our Far Eastern policies or our commitment to the freedom of the seas will lead us to seek in competitive expansion a more favorable relative position than that now assigned under the naval treaties, what strategic and tactic ideas are likely to influence the future composition of our unrestricted fleet? New Year’s Day, 1937, usher in a new race in type development as disturbing and as costly as an out-and-out race for the numbers needed to enforce by arms our historic policies in foreign spheres?
It is well to remember that much of service opposition to the treaties in countries was based on the claim that type restrictions, rather than their limits on total tonnages, made adequate defense impossible of attainment. All naval staffs will soon be free to re-examine the claims and each to recommend for future the particular kinds of fighting ships most suitable to their own peculiar conception of war. The difficulty is that here, too, values are largely relative, not absolute. Naval building from the dawn of history has been competitive in kind as well as quantity. Even radical departures, such as the introduction of the ironclad steamer, have soon merged into the slow and orderly course of imitation and mutual evolution. The trireme, the quadrireme, and the quinqrereme followed one another up the copyist’s spiral of competition. The 74-, the 98-, and the 120-gun ship pressed one another up the same slope. It is, however, significant to note that here evolution finally met a natural or absolute limit inherent in sailing ship maneuverability. The British Navy seems to have concluded that the 74 was a size beyond which it was unwise to venture- Let the shore-trained artillery theorists of France press for unwieldy size, British seamen understood ships even better than weapons. They sought a Proper vessel, not a towering gun platform. Professional pride and the old resolve never to be overmatched led them to copy a few of the foreign 120’s. In this superdreadnought of sail, they followed rather than set the pace. An analysis of Britain’s extensive building during the Napoleonic Wars clearly shows that in the 74 her seamen instinctively felt the line-of-battle ship had reached a type worthy of standardization.
It is surely pertinent to speculate whether a similar natural limit will operate to restrict the displacement of future battleships. The modern race for ever greater size, conceived in the energetic, though almost unbalanced mind of Admiral Sir John Fisher, and given a kind of scholarly benediction in the theories of Admiral Mahan, was pressed on by the sheer enthusiasm of the technicians. Any misgivings were swept aside by the intolerant logic of the “bigger and better” school. Battleships, bigger battleships, more battleships, was almost the sole pre-war conception of fleet strength. Thirteen years ago this dizzy race was halted. Must we take it up again? Or has in truth our conception of war at sea been radically altered?
Among the three principal maritime powers the United States alone is definitely committed to the “big ship” school to us the battleship has always seemed not only the central bastion of naval power but a type especially useful in distant war even though other and similar battleships be deployed against it. For the “great ship” we justly claim excess fuel capacity and relative invulnerability to other than gunnery weapons, characteristics that increase directly with size. To arrive in distant waters despite bomb, mine, and torpedo and to carry in her bulging hull reserve oil for ever thirsty satellites, these characteristics are more valuable to our battleships than to those of our enemies. For these benefits we have always been more than willing to sacrifice reduced target area, added nimbleness, and added numbers which are the advantages of the small ship. Possibly the 35,000-ton battleship, like the 74, represents a natural limit, a reasonable balance between the advantages of huge size and the counter-advantages inherent in the hull of more limited proportions.
Even more important than these technical problems of type limits, is the menace of unrestricted counter-building abroad. The old parity and 5:3 were at best an artificial measure of fleet strength. With all restrictions removed, we may well doubt whether Japan will choose to follow us in a race for preponderance in great ships. Her only object in so doing would be to achieve a line able to challenge our battleship divisions in the waters of the Orient. This would seem almost impossible of attainment in renewed and intensified competitive construction. It is far more likely that she will increase the numbers and range of her submarine and surface flotillas, creating for the future a type of fleet similar to that dictated by the French conception of fierce and destructive warfare in narrow waters. Should she throw all her building into a superflotilla and fast light cruisers, with possibly some startling addition to her battle cruiser striking force, it would become more and more difficult for a fleet, even if stiffened by overwhelming battleship squadrons, effectively to control more than the outer fringes of her naval sphere. Where swarm the submarines, there the commerce stopping cruiser herself becomes the endangered pawn. In torpedo waters, the great battleship is no longer an ever present castle of sea control, as were Nelson’s storm-tossed 74’s, but becomes a mighty chessman hastily thrust forward and as hastily withdrawn from the confused game board of dangerous seas. There is a vast difference between effecting a lodgment athwart an enemy’s trade routes and using that lodgment as a base from which to cruise against his commerce so continuously and so successfully as to force him into unequal battle or eventual surrender. With all naval nations freed at last from type restrictions, we may yet find that an increase in our battleships in individual size and in numbers will bring us no nearer to solving the problem of successful war in distant waters.
In fact, in this building and counterbuilding, we may soon reach an illogical and costly post-treaty answer to the whole naval question. The future may give us more numerous and mightier battleships and against them others may create a shield, not by copying our building, ship for ship, but by multiplying and improving inherently defensive types. Both nations would then have added to their individual security and conversely neither would have greatly increased its power for offensive operations.
Looking now to the Atlantic, it seems likely that any material additions to our battle line will be reluctantly matched by identical construction in England. Here, too, we may expect to see a considerable increase in surface flotilla as a counter to the numerous submarines now based in the naval ports of the Continent. It is also probable that Britain will add to the number of her escort types. The lack of sufficient small cruisers has always been her chief criticism of the naval treaties.
With the present limits removed, she will, in all likelihood, exercise her newfound right to provide the 70 cruising ships she had claimed as necessary to guard commerce along her extended lines of communication. At the same time, she will feel compelled by old tradition to keep pace with our capital ship and with our heavy cruiser squadrons. The resulting balance will probably approximate the familiar treaty 5:5, though, should we feel constrained to create a fleet identical to hers, we shall have to buy it at the cost of some 20 light cruisers which we have consistently claimed are unsuited to our needs. Gradually, and in mutual, rather than in competitive tempo, with perhaps some tacit agreement, the two establishments will grow in numbers and ineffectiveness, each increasingly able to protect its own naval sphere, and the two fleets in combination eventually able to control even the most heavily guarded waters beyond their present strategic domains.
It seems that both from technical and from political considerations we should strive for a continuation of substantially our present relative treaty position, even though the treaties themselves may be consigned to the limbo of the past where rest so many experiments noble in purpose but impossible of enforcement. So long have their levels existed, that, except 10 France and in Japan, they have come to be regarded as a fixed structure of naval policy. Those who have so recently sought radically to alter the Washington and London ratios have found themselfs alone in their desire and unsupported in their claim that either justice or expediency calls for an abandonment of this now historic balance of naval power.
In demanding for the future no less and no more than our old treaty level, we find ourselves on firm and familiar groundless favorable position we should not an cannot accept. From the grim and costly lessons of the World War, we have learned that only strength at sea can give us power instantly to vindicate the really vital tenet of our foreign policy, unquestioned defense of the Western Hemisphere with its impregnable Pacific outpost at Hawaii and its life giving artery, the Manama Canal. Scarcely a century has Passed since President Monroe by his famous message to Congress drew down the curtain on the confused and war- barred drama of foreign conquest and foreign political control in the Americas. The Russian River in California now marks the disputed region where Imperial Russia and the Church of Constantine, expanding east over half the world, met imperial Spain and the Church of Rome, expanding west in the wake of Columbus. It is well to remember that the Monroe Doctrine, like our defense policy today, faces both west against encroachment from Asia and east against encroachment from Europe. The old menace of Russia and the brace boasts of the Holy Alliance have long since past into the romance of our early history. But their memories and their lessons are with use yet.
At Bermuda and Jamaica there still exists the empty framework of a British Caribbean. Only equal strength at sea can fully assure us that never again can a preponderant fleet build into that abandoned structure a dangerous and threatening reality. Only strength equal to hers can sustain our own, and let us hope, most generous and understanding, concept of neutrality. Only parity can make it for-ever impossible that, should the future find us involved in a war, and Britain be the most powerful maritime neutral, hers will not be the unquestioned authority to dictate the policies and issues of that conflict. Never again, if we constantly maintain the relative level of the present treaty navy, can Punch repeat the cartoon which, at the time of the capture of Mason and Slidell, pictured a proud and beautiful Britannia, her hand on the firing lanyard, and underneath the single ominous word “Waiting.” Strong at sea with the strength of the greatest, we can, without threat to others, fully vindicate our political isolation, and at the same time speak with authority, and, we trust, with helpfulness, in the troubled councils of a war-menaced Europe.
Facing west across the Pacific, this same fleet gives us the power fully to defend our naval sphere. It does not, and cannot, assure us ready victory in the Orient single-handed. There our historic policies must be realized by such diplomatic action as can bring their interpretation into agreement with changed conditions. Threatening no enemy, we demand in the Pacific only what we concede, security in our own strategic area, even though this leaves our flag and not Japan’s a hostage to fortune in waters whose naval control we have given into foreign hands.
For America, 1937 will mark the year of the great decision. Not for a month, not for a decade, but for the long years that stretch ever ahead, we must restate the basis of our naval policy. Greatness in arms and authority in council are not achievements of a season’s growth. Embedded in our history, painfully nurtured by the statesmen and the seamen of other days, these essential attributes of strength must soon be projected into the far future. The diplomatic problems of the day may yield to the solutions of the day, but our naval position, once lost, cannot readily be regained. No million sturdy yeomen springing to arms can replace the sure bulwark of a permanent fleet. The place at sea which we have won, that and no less we must for all time maintain, or surrender to the uncertain future the heritage of the mighty past. The skill, the loyalty, and the devotion of the service, if these be sacrificed today, other generations, facing other problems, may yet lament their loss, as long ago a peace-loving Roman Emperor lamented the loss of his established soldiery, crying out, “O Varus, give me back my legions!”
The treaty balance for the troubled years that lie beyond the treaties, that must be our goal, America armed for peace, secure in her own sphere and menacing no specific enemy. For only in the arrogant confidence of absolute and overwhelming preponderance could any single nation today immediately base its major strategy on Drake’s brave advice “to seek God’s enemies and Her Majesty’s whenever they may be found.” The course of history and the difficulties of distant war inherent in modern naval technique have inevitably brought the fleets of the maritime powers into a mutual equipoise where each can have defense and conversely none can have the power for instant victory. Reluctantly but firmly, we must soon take up the latest challenge to this just and moderate equipoise. On perpetuating the treaty balance by naval building, since it is now evident that the dockyards must sustain in competitive expansion the position our diplomacy cannot continue by agreement, rests the future of that sacred heritage we call America’s greatness and America’s security.
The mind of the warrior is thrown into a conflict between the demands of his lifework and the siren voices of the eternal peace advocates. How can the enthusiastic belief in the preparedness for war and in the relentlessness of the fight prevail in a mind which is touched by the doubt whether war among civilized nations is not brutal and immoral and criminal? It is one of the most important conditions for the success of the navy that such inner wavering be absolutely excluded from the officer's mind. All that is needed is for him to see them in the right perspective. He will not deny the harm and the losses which war brings with it. But at the same time he will be deeply impressed by the tremendous moral power of a national self-defense which concentrates the energies of the whole nation in loyalty to its historical mission. He must grasp the fundamental role of war in the history of mankind as the great vehicle of progress, as the great eradicator of egotism, as the great educator to a spirit of sacrifice and duty. – Munsterberg.