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قراءة كتاب Golden Lads

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Golden Lads

Golden Lads

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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Against them stand the great mass of loyal Americans, who, when they see the right, and receive moral leadership, show that they have in their souls as much of the valor of righteousness as the men of 1860 and of 1776. The literary bureau at Washington has acted as a soporific on the mind and conscience of the American people. Fine words, designed to work confusion between right and wrong, have put them to sleep. But they now stir in their sleep.

The proceeds from the sale of this book are to be used for a charity in which every intelligent American feels a personal interest. The training of maimed soldiers in suitable trades is making possible the reconstruction of an entire nation. It is work carried on by citizens of the neutral nations. The cause itself is so admirable that it deserves wide support. It gives an outlet for the ethical feelings of our people, feelings that have been unnaturally dammed for nearly two years by the cold and timid policy of our Government.

The testimony of the book is the first-hand witness of an American citizen who was present when the Army of Invasion blotted out a little nation. This is an eye-witness report on the disputed points of this war. The author saw the wrongs perpetrated on helpless non-combatants by direct military orders. He shows that the frightfulness practiced on peasant women and children was the carrying out of a Government policy, planned in advance, ordered from above. It was not the product of irresponsible individual drunken soldiers. His testimony is clear on this point. He goes still further, and shows that individual soldiers resented their orders, and most unwillingly carried through the cruelty that was forced on them from Berlin. In his testimony he is kindlier to the German race, to the hosts of peasants, clerks and simple soldiers, than the defenders of Belgium's obliteration have been. They seek to excuse acts of infamy. But the author shows that the average German is sorry for those acts.

It is fair to remember in reading Mr. Gleason's testimony concerning these deeds of the German Army that he has never received a dollar of money for anything he has spoken or written on the subject. He gave without payment the articles on the Spy, the Atrocity, and the Steam Roller to the New York Tribune. The profits from the lectures he has delivered on the same subject have been used for well-known public charities. The book itself is a gift to a war fund.

Of Mr. Gleason's testimony on atrocities I have already written (see page 38).

What he saw was reported to the Bryce Committee by the young British subject who accompanied him, and these atrocities, which Mr. Gleason witnessed, appear in the Bryce Report under the heading of Alost. It is of value to know that an American witnessed atrocities recorded in the Bryce Report, as it disposes of the German rejoinders that the Report is ex-parte and of second-hand rumor.

His chapter on the Spy System answers the charge that it was Belgium who violated her own neutrality, and forced an unwilling Germany, threatened by a ring of foes, to defend herself.

The chapter on the Steam Roller shows that the same policy of injustice that was responsible for the original atrocities is today operating to flatten out what is left of a free nation.

The entire book is a protest against the craven attitude of our Government.

Theodore Roosevelt.
March 28, 1916.




THE CONQUERORS




THE SPY

Germany uses three methods in turning a free nation into a vassal state. By a spy system, operated through years, she saps the national strength. By sudden invasion, accompanied by atrocity, she conquers the territory, already prepared. By continuing occupation, she flattens out what is left of a once independent people. In England and North America, she has used her first method. France has experienced both the spy and the atrocity. It has been reserved for Belgium to be submitted to the threefold process. I shall tell what I have seen of the spy system, the use of frightfulness, and the enforced occupation.

It is a mistake for us to think that the worst thing Germany has done is to torture and kill many thousands of women and children. She undermines a country with her secret agents before she lays it waste. In time of peace, with her spy system, she works like a mole through a wide area till the ground is ready to cave in. She plays on the good will and trustfulness of other peoples till she has tapped the available information. That betrayal of hospitality, that taking advantage of human feeling, is a baser thing than her unique savagery in war time.

During my months in Belgium I have been surrounded by evidences of this spy system, the long, slow preparedness which Germany makes in another country ahead of her deadly pounce. It is a silent, peaceful invasion, as destructive as the house-to-house burning and the killing of babies and mothers to which it later leads.

The German military power, which is the modern Germany, is able to obtain agents to carry out this policy, and make its will prevail, by disseminating a new ethic, a philosophy of life, which came to expression with Bismarck and has gone on extending its influence since the victories of 1870-'71. The German people believe they serve a higher God than the rest of us. We serve (very imperfectly and only part of the time) such ideals as mercy, pity, and loyalty to the giver of the bread we eat. The Germans serve (efficiently and all the time) the State, a supreme deity, who sends them to spy out a land in peace time, to build gun foundations in innocent-looking houses, buy up poverty-stricken peasants, measure distances, win friendship, and worm out secrets. With that information digested and those preparations completed, the State (an entity beyond good and evil) calls on its citizens to make war, and, in making it, to practise frightfulness. It orders its servants to lay aside pity and burn peasants in their homes, to bayonet women and children, to shoot old men. Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are Germans of the vintage of '48, and later, many of them honest and peaceable dwellers in the country which shelters them. But the imperial system has little use for them. They do not serve its purpose.

The issue of the war, as Belgium and France see it, is this: Are they to live or die? Are they to be charted out once again through years till their hidden weakness is accurately located, and then is an army to be let loose on them that will visit a universal outrage on their children and wives? Peace will be intolerable till this menace is removed. The restoration of territory in Belgium and Northern France and the return to the status quo before the war, are not sufficient guarantees for the future. The status quo before the war means another insidious invasion, carried on unremittingly month by month by business agents, commercial travelers, genial tourists, and studious gentlemen in villas. A crippled, broken Teutonic military power is the only guarantee that a new army of spies will not take the road to Brussels and Paris on the day that peace is signed. No simple solution like, "Call it all off, we'll start in fresh; bygones are bygones," meets the real situation. The Allied nations have been infested with a cloud of witnesses for many years. Are they to submit once again to that secret process of the Germans?



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