America's Accomplishments

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America's Accomplishments  (1920) 
by Breckinridge Long
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From the moment of the declaration by Germany, she would reopen her inhuman warfare by the indiscriminate use of submarines. From that instant, history grows in America, and with a voice as near unanimous as history records, cried defiance at the greatest military power in the world. Righteous indignation, appreciating that not only the liberty of our own citizens was involved, but that the rights of humanity were jeopardized, impelled us to a task not more stupendous than is the realization we accomplished our set purpose in an incredibly short time to the bewilderment of a yet admiring world.

From a community of agriculturalists, manufacturers, and merchants, unaccustomed to the use of arms or to military methods, an army of four million men was raised. Boats, guns, ammunition and all equipment were supplied in more than sufficient quantity. Two million men were transported across three thousand miles of infested sea and landed with eager hearts on foreign soil, in itself an accomplishment for which history draws no parallel. Even in the ages to come will the story be told in song and carried down in the minds and hearts of men -- a fame more lasting than ineffaceable records on stone.

That incredible organization of the man-power and woman-power throughout the United States, that marvelous marshalling of resources, electrified the men. Each one conscious of the united purpose of the whole nation, so that when the leash was loosed they set upon and overcame the greatest military autocracy the world had ever known, and put the stars and the stripes on the ramparts of the Rhine. Valiant men, sterling officers, loyal citizens at home, each and all participated and were directed to everlasting victory in thought and word and deed by Woodrow Wilson, Commander-in-Chief of the armies and of the navies of the United States.

Yet there are those among us even who would detract from the splendor of our victory. There are those who attempt by innuendo indirect, and by unshamed criticism to destroy the reputation of their country. Shame on him who points at America the finger of scorn. The sons and daughters of America have pride in their accomplishments and will resent the utterances of those who do not tender her full glory for it. From this point of view it may be easily proclaimed we should have done this or we should not have done that. But I defy the man to raise his voice who would have dared say then, not now, we should not have bought one more gun, nor trained another soldier and to have assumed responsibility for defeat. We sought not responsibility for defeat, we sought victory, and centuries ago Caesar said it for us: "We came, we saw, we conquered." Ah, the living need not sing the praise, for generations yet unborn will constant testimony bear, and the record of America in the great world war will stand the greatest wonder of the world.


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

The author died in 1958, 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.