Nathan Crary Shiverick to Jane Addams, May 26, 1924

↑Colonel↓ NATHAN C. SHIVERICK↑, President of the Reserve Officers Association of New York↓

May 26th, 1924.

Miss Jane Addams, President
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ill.

Dear Miss Addams: --

I understand that the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom of which you are President, is now holding a Summer School in Chicago for the purpose of educating the women of the country as to the best ways and means of insuring peace in the World.

It is in order for me, as President of the New York State Reserve Officers Association, to call your attention to what this organization is doing to assure peace.

I take it that one of the impelling motives of your organization is the prevention of warfare, in order to provide against the loss of life and the great physical suffering of both men and animals incidental to wars. In the recent war the losses and sufferings of men were astounding, and likewise of animals. Little has been said of the enormous numbers of horses and mules, hundreds of thousands, which suffered wounds, diseases, starvation and death, while in the service of armies at war. It may seem astonishing, but it is a fact that it was more than fourteen months after the United States entered the war before our forces could launch a great offensive, and then our losses in both men and animals were much in excess of what they should have been, had our forces been more completely and less hastily trained.

You and your organization are seeking to prevent a recurrence of such a holocaust. The organization of which I am president is also seeking to prevent it.

Your methods and our methods differ materially. You propose to put in operation pure theory. We propose to support a tried and proven plan, that of preparedness which is similar to the plan of preventative as applied in medicine.

I want to call your attention to the fact that we were injected into the World War by the Central Powers who were thoroughly convinced that we were unprepared and who as you well know, for many years previous to the war engaged in a campaign in this country to prevent preparedness and decrease national loyalty. Further, as you know, when we had been forced into this conflict a great organization sprang up in this country, the whole purpose of which was to prevent our protecting ourselves.

In contrast to this situation was Switzerland, a prosperous country in the very center of the conflict. Switzerland occupied a physical position of the gravest strategical and tactical value to both belligerents, but neither side dared attack. Unlike Belgium, Switzerland was at peace all during the bitter years of the [page 2] war. She lost none of her citizens. Her vast resources were untouched. It was to Switzerland that Europe gave the honor of housing the League of Nations.


Solely because Switzerland always maintains herself in a position of preparedness. Her army is a citizen's army well trained and well equipped. Had we been prepared, it is safe to say, that not only would we not have been brought into the war, but probably there would have been no rape of Belgium.

The program of your organization to secure world peace as applied to the United States as I understand that program, among other things provides for the following:

Outlawry of war through education and legislative action;

Repeal of the National Defense Act of 1920;

Immediate release of all so-called "political" prisoners;

Full and immediate recognition of Soviet Russia;

Revision of all School Textbooks with a view of substituting international for national ideas -- a part of the "Youth Movement";

Discontinuance of summer training camps for civilians;

Removal of all military training from schools and colleges;

Gradual abolition of private property privileges;

Abolition of the Chemical Warfare Department;

Abolition of the National Guard;

Abolition of the Army and Navy;

Abolition of the War Department as a whole;

Complete disarmament of the Nation;

You will have to admit this is all theory. Nothing proposed has ever been tried. There are so many proposals that ring of pure communistic utterances that I am wondering if your organization has not been cleverly deceived by the communist movement of Europe. A movement ostensibly to secure World Peace, but in reality a movement to decrease the protective strength of nations in order that communism may prevail here as it now does in Russia.

You urge the recognition of Soviet Russia, but what are you doing to accomplish the abolition of the Red Army of Russia, a well trained and equipped force of over one million men. What has your proposition for the "gradual abolition of the private property right" got to do with World Peace.

Your plans find no substance in history. Peace and its blessing have favored only those nations prepared to keep and hold their privileges. War has visited its terrors on the unprepared.

You urge that this country subscribe to experiments in peace plans and experiments in foreign relations, experiments to be made after our defenses have been rendered inert. Our plan is based on the continued repetitions of history, and is subscribed to by men who have suffered in war, men who have sacrificed their businesses and home comforts to defend their nation, and many of them have suffered the wounds and physical blights of war. [page 3]

There has been much talk since the war of the rapid changes in human nature. Common sense tells us that human nature is not a cause of strife, but is an immutable effect of daily strife. In planning to promote peace for the future, any considerations given to the subject of "human nature" should view it as an effect and not as a cause.

In an effort to arrive at an understanding of the Reserve Officers point of view as to the best way to assure peace, I extend to you an invitation as President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and especially to the members of the "Pax Special" to pay a visit to our Contact Training Camp at Conesus Lake, 27 miles South of Rochester, N.Y., where the first Contact Camp was organized. The idea underlying this camp has grown to such an extent that this year there will be seven times the number of Contact Camps in this country to offer training facilities to part of the increasing number of young men who desire training under this system. We are here striving to maintain respect for our national customs, sustain patriotism and encourage the development of the Organized Reserve to maintain the defense of this country so adequately, that no predatory nation will attempt to involve the United States in armed conflict.

The Contact Camps offer to the officers of the National Guard and the Organized Reserves an opportunity to further their training. They also offer to the different components of the defense plan, the Regular Army, the National Guard and the Organized Reserve, opportunities to come together more frequently, to become better acquainted and to learn each others points of view. The morning hours are devoted to military training, the afternoons and evenings to recreation, swimming, fishing, boating, out of door games, dancing, etcetera. The officers attending these camps do so at their own expense and pay for their board, it is purely voluntary and quite in keeping with the best traditions of our great Democracy. It is the most economical training scheme yet attempted.

↑x↓ No one is more anxious to honorably avoid war than the very men who have experienced war; ↑x↓ the men who are today giving their time and energy to preparedness, to forestall war. They are not swayed by emotional appeals but by experiences. They are, I take it, better qualified to present the remedy than those who know nothing about war, what produces it, how it operates and its deadening effect on those who take part in it.

I am wondering how many of the women in your organization, who are active in it, were really workers at the front? How many of them nursed in France, or distributed food to tired hungry soldiers? Women did do such things, I saw them. How many of your active workers, when the conflict was on, were giving their entire time to humanitarian and useful work, and how many of them on the contrary, devoted their time in efforts to prevent the United States from defending itself against a most infamous foe.

I am not ascribing anything but sincerity to the motives of the American Women who are taking part in your movement, but at the same time, I am, of necessity forced to conclude that the great majority of them have given little attention to ascertaining where the plan to [page 4] secure peace you propose originated. I am certain, knowing the true patriotism and national loyalty which is common with American women, that if you and all others, fully understood the purpose of the Reserve, the purpose of this Government in extending and increasing its protective forces, understood clearly and fully the influences back of the plan to destroy such protective forces, you and all others alike, could be found advocating our Peace Plan.

And with the hope that you will come and see for yourself; talk with our men, grasp our point of view, appreciate the sturdy national loyalty that yet exists in this land notwithstanding the vast amount of foreign propaganda to destroy it, I extend to you the hearty invitation herein referred to.

Yours for National Loyalty,

Nathan C. Shiverick [signed]
Pres. Reserve Officers Ass'n, New York State.