December 8, 1914

by Richard van Pelt, WWI Correspondent

President Woodrow Wilson. Wikimedia Commons, Library of Congress.

President Wilson delivered the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The paper published the speech in its entirety. Salient points as they relate to the war included:

[What we have accomplished in the past] has now passed from our hands. It is now an established part of the legislation of the country. Its usefulness, its effects will disclose themselves in experience.

****

[W]e face new tasks, have been facing them these six months, must face them in the months to come – face them without partisan feeling – like men who have forgotten everything but a common duty and the fact that we are representatives of a great people whose thought is not of us but of what America owes to herself and to all mankind in such circumstances as these upon which we look amazed and anxious.

War has interrupted the means of trade not only, but also, the processes of production. In Europe it is destroying means and resources wholesale and upon a scale unprecedented and appalling. There is reason to fear that the time is near, if it be not already at hand, when several of the countries of Europe will find it difficult to do for their people what they have hitherto been always easily able to do – many essential and fundamental things. At any rate, they will need our help and our manifold services as they have never needed them before; and we should be ready, more fit and ready than we have ever been.
****

We are at peace with all the world. No one who speaks counsel based on fact or drawn from a just and candid interpretation of realities can say that there is reason to fear that from any quarter our independence or integrity of our territory is threatened. Dread of the power of any other nation we are incapable of. We are not jealous of rivalry in the fields of commerce or of any other peaceful achievement. We mean to live our own lives as we will; but we mean also to let live. We are, indeed, a true friend to all the nations of the world, because we threaten none, covet the possessions of none, desire the overthrow of none. Our friendship can be accepted and is accepted without reservation, because it is offered in a spirit and for a purpose which no one need ever question or suspect. Therein lies our greatness. We are the champions of peace and of concord. And we should be very jealous of this distinction which we have sought to earn. Just now we should be particularly jealous of it, because it is our greatest present hope that this character and reputation may presently, in God’s providence, bring us an opportunity such as has seldom been vouchsafed, bring us an opportunity to counsel and obtain peace in the world and reconciliation and a healing settlement of many a matter that has cooled and interrupted the friendship of nations. This is the time above all others when we should wish and resolve to keep our strength by self possession, our influence by preserving our ancient principles of action.

****

From the first we have had a clear and settled policy with regard to military establishments. We never have had, and while we retain our present principles and ideals we never wall have, a large standing army. . . . [We] shall not turn America into a military camp. We will not ask our young men to spend the best years of their lives making soldiers of themselves. . . [W]hen half the world is on fire, we shall be careful to make our moral instance against the spread of the conflagration very definite and certain and adequate, indeed.

****

We must depend in every time of national peril, in the future as in the past, not upon a standing army, nor yet upon a reserve army, but upon a citizenry trained and accustomed to arms. It will right enough, right American policy, based on our accustomed principles and practices, to provide a system by which every citizen who will volunteer for training may be made familiar with the use of modern arms, and the rudiment of drill and maneuver, and the maintenance and sanitation of camps. we should encourage such training and make it a means of discipline whig our young men will learn to value. It is right that we should provide it not only, but that we should make it as attractive as possible, and so induce our young men to undergo it at such times as they can command a little freedom and can seek the physical development they need for mere health’s sake, if for nothing more.

The day’s headlines from the Daily Capital Journal:

ALLIES ADVANCE IS SLOW BUT STEADY; SHIPS TAKING PART
CONCERTED EFFORT BEGUN TO PRESS THE GERMANS BACK ACROSS THE FRONTIER
FIGHTING TODAY IS AN ARTILLERY DUEL
Germans Also Show Increased Activity But Are Slowly Giving Way

KAISER HAS THE MEN BUT IS SHY ON ARMS IS EXPERTS OPINION
Critic Says This Is Why Forces In France Had to be Sent to Russia
HAD NOT EQUIPMENT FOR MORE RESERVES
Capture of Liege With Its Facilities for Making War Supplies Delayed This

RUSSIANS ARE AT GATES OF CRACOW IS THEIR CLAIM TODAY
Claim Force of 200,000 Slavs Have Driven Austrians to Their Forts
LOSS WAS GREAT BUT GERMANS’ WAS LARGER
The Russian Story Is Not Accepted in Its Entirety at London

FOREIGNERS NOT IN IMMEDIATE DANGER AT TURKISH PORTS
Turks So far Have Not Arrested Either British or FrenchCitizens
BUT NONE OF THESE CAN LEAVE COUNTRY
Safety of Entire Foreign Population due to Efforts of American Consul

 

Advertisements

About whclarc

We are devoted to providing information fresh from the Archives, Library and Collections of the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon. We specialize in the history of Marion County and the greater Salem area.
This entry was posted in World War I in Marion County. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s