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NEW ENGLAND MAGAZINE

VOL. LIII

MAY, 1915

NUMBER 1

A

A WORD FOR MILITARY TRAINING*

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By MAJOR-GENERAL WILLIAM A. BANCROFT

M. V. M.

SPECIAL plea should be made at this time for recognition among young men of the duty and privilege of belonging to the militia. A man does not need to be a jingo-he may be a very sincere believer in the principles of the movement for international arbitration to be convinced that never was preparedness for contingencies more needed than now. Any one, furthermore, is blind to the facts of industrial progress who does not appreciate that the kind of virtues which are developed under military training are those which are more and more - required for successful accomplishment of the world's work.

Effective maintenance of the American militia I believe to be justified, even if as we all hope may be the case-another war should never occur. The course of industrial advance has been such-and it will doubtless continue in the same direction that a quasi-military form of organization has become recognized as necessary to the conduct of wellmanaged public service corporations. How large a proportion of the total population is in the employ of the corporations has become a matter of genveral comment. The steam railroads

of the United States have upwards of la million and a half men on their pay-rolls. The whole number of persons engaged in trading and transportation enterprises is nearly five mil

lions. Amongst most of the great industrial corporations it is found that efficiency depends upon creation of. system that approaches the military

type.

The stock example of a country that believes so thoroughly in military. training that all its able-bodied males have to give a portion of their youth. to service in the army, is Germany. It is the fashion in some quarters to decry German militarism, and undoubtedly the tyrannical features of the system do not comport with American ideas of personal freedom. In this country we believe, fortunately, in giving the individual as much choice of action as possible.

At the same time, all apart from questions of the national defense, the value of the military discipline in forming German character, and in promoting the industrial welfare of the empire is hardly to be overstated. The manufacturing and commercial expansion of the fatherland has gone on side by side with the evolution of the military system, and there are good reasons for suspecting a causal connection. Critics have complained from time to time of the withdrawal of a large portion of the population from bread-winning pursuits. As a matter of fact, however, the habits formed under arms are of inestimable economic worth; their acquisition quite outweighs the loss of two years of the individual's time at a period.

This article was prepared for the New England Magazine some time ago, and it is reprinted now by Gen. Bancroft's permission, but the reader should bear in mind that it was not written with particular reference to conditions arising from the European War.

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