But will not civilians have to hunger and thirst in these days? That is an earnest question. The answer is, No. Even in Berlin, city of millions, the milk supply did not fail for a day. Infants will not have to bear the privations of war. All provisions are to be had at reasonable prices. Empire, municipalities and merchants are working successfully together to insure that there shall be a sufficient food supply at not too great a cost. Not only is our great army mobilized, but the whole folk is mobilized, and the distribution of labor, the food question and the care of the sick and wounded are all being provided for. The whole German folk has become a gigantic war camp, all are mobilized to protect Kaiser, Folk and Fatherland, as the closing report of the Reichstag put it. And all Germany pays the tribute of a salute to the chiefs of the army and navy, who work with deeds, not words.
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The German Army and Navy on the watch—Four million German men in the field—Thousands of volunteers join the colors to fight for Germany’s existence, among them the flower of her scientific and artistic life.
There can be no greater contrast than that between the United States and Germany in one of the most important questions of existence with which a State is confronted. In its whole history the United States has never had a foreign hostile force of invaders upon its territory, foreign armies have never laid waste its fields. Until late in the last century, however, Germany was the battlefield for the then most powerful nations of Europe. The numerous German States and provinces, too, fought among themselves, often on behalf of foreign powers. The European great powers of that day were able, unhindered and unpunished, to take for themselves piece after piece of German territory. In the United States, on the other hand, it was years before the steadily increasing population attained to the boundaries set for it by nature.
Our Bismarck was finally able, in the years from 1864 to 1871, to create a great empire from the many small German States. As he himself often remarked, however, this was possible only because his policies and diplomacy rested upon and were supported by a well trained and powerful army. How the German Empire came into being at that time is well known. A war was necessary because of the fact that the then so powerful France did not desire that North and South Germany should unite. She was not able to prevent this union, was defeated and had to give back to us two old German provinces which she had stolen from the Germans. The old Field Marshal von Moltke said not long after the war of 1870-71 that the Germans would still have to defend Alsace-Lorraine for fifty years more. Perhaps he little realized how prophetic his words were, but he and those who followed him, the German Emperors and the German War Ministers, prepared themselves for this coming defensive struggle and unremittingly devoted their attention to the German Army.