The World War

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The World War  (1920) 
by James M. Cox
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A world war has been fought — historic, unprecedented. For many, many months civilization hung in the balance. In the despair of dark hours, it seemed as though a world dictator was inevitable. And that henceforth, men and women who had lived in freedom, would stand at attention in the [face] of the drawn sword of military autocracy. The very soul of America was touched as never before, with the fear that our liberties might be taken away.

What America did needs no reiteration here. It is known of all men. History will acclaim it. Poets will find it an inspiration throughout the ages. And yet, there is not a line in the Republican platform that breathes an emotion of pride or recites our national achievement. In fact, if a man from Mars were to depend upon the Republican platform, or its spoken interpretations by the candidate of that party, as his first means of information, he would not find a syllable telling him that the war had been won and that America had saved the world.

How ungenerous. How ungracious all of this is. How unfair that a mere group of leaders should so demean themselves in the name of the party of Lincoln and McKinley and Roosevelt. The discourtesy to President Wilson is an affair of political intrigue. History will make it odious. As well might it be directed at a wounded soldier of the war. One fell in the trench, the strength of the other was broken in the enormous labors of his great office.

But others were ignored. The men and women who labored at home with an industry and a skill that words cannot recount. What of the hands that moved the lathes by day and the needle by night? What of the organizations, superbly effective, that conserved food and fed the world; that carried nourishment to the very front trench in the face of hell's fury; that nursed the wounded back to life; that buried the dead in the dark shelter of the night; that inspired businessmen and artisans of all parties to work in harmony? What of the millions of men, women, and children of all creeds, religious and otherwise, who stood in the ranks as firm as soldiers overseas, undivided by things they once quarreled about? What of the government itself: confirming the faith of our fathers as sufficient to [lead] the storms of time? Why the smear of labor, with the veiled charge that it was a slacker? Republican leaders who have taken charge of their party and nominated its candidate, are no more possessed of the spirit of the hour than they were in 1912 when they precipitated a revolution within the rank and file of a great organization.

If further proof were needed, the action of the present Congress supplies it. Not a constructive law can be cited. Money and time were wasted in seeking to make a military triumph an odious chapter in history. Yet it is significant that after two years of fruitful inquiry, there was nothing revealed in that vast enterprise carrying billions of dollars in defense, upon which they could base even a whisper of dishonesty.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1957, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 50 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.