Miss Addams and Preparedness, November 18, 1915

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Chicago, Nov. 17, -- (Editor of The Tribune.) -- In an informal discussion following my address at the Social Service club last Monday evening, I was asked to define my position on the question of preparedness, and to give some reasons for it. I gave the following five reasons which I had written out the day before for another purpose, and which I am therefore able to recall quite accurately.

1. The moment of panic is a bad time to decide any matter, and whatever danger of attack to America, none could be anticipated at the present time when all her hypothetical enemies are exhausting their resources elsewhere.

2. When the results of this war are studied they will probably greatly modify the type of defense which will be employed in the future -- submarines vs. dreadnaughts, etc. At this moment, the expenditure of enormous sums of money upon dreadnaughts of the old fashioned type is, to say the least, a premature decision.

3. It is hoped by many people in Europe and America that one result of this war may be the proportionate reduction of armaments. At this moment, to have America so markedly increasing her "defenses" would make it impossible for her to enter such a plan with clean hands. By taking action now she assumes that any such plan is impracticable.

4. There is no doubt that if the Unites States yields to panic at this moment and largely increases her army and navy, other nations will feel that they must also do this. The action of the United States will have a profound influence upon the governments of South America and those in Asia, increasing tremendously the expenditure of the people's taxes for military purposes.

5. The fact that the United States is preparing against even a hypothetical enemy will make it much more difficult for her to act as a mediator in ending the war.

I beg to differ with your statement that the policy of preparedness is a matter of "military technique." On the contrary, it seems to me to be a matter of affecting the general policy of a nation, whose very foundations rest upon the convictions of its citizens and free discussion.

It is certainly the prerogative of a citizen to urge the postponement of the entire matter until international affairs have returned to a normal condition.


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