“War Talks By Uncle Dan,” from the Jan. 17, 1918, issue of the French Broad Hustler
Jimmie and a German Boy Clash….Must
Do Three Things to Save Country
It was a warm evening, so Uncle Dan went out to a lawn seat under the
spreading branches of the great tree that suggested the farm’s name of Oak
Hill. Billie and Jimmie had been laying for him, so Uncle Dan was captured by
the boys on short order.
“Say, Uncle Dan,” Billie began. “We had a red-hot argument at school
yesterday with Carl Newman. Carl said that German schools were miles ahead of
our schools and that no one could come up to the educated German. Well, Jimmie
got hot under the collar and handed it back to him good and plenty. Jimmie said
if their education taught them to torpedo Lusitanias, sink hospital ships, murder
hundreds of women and children, make slaves of the Belgians, poison wells,
destroy fruit trees and commit all sorts of crimes, then we did not want that
kind of education here. What do you think about it, Uncle Dan? I told Jimmie
you spent a lot of time in Europe and knew all about schools, so give us your
“Well,” replied Uncle Dan, deliberately, “the German schools are very
thorough. They furnish exceedingly valuable and practical instruction. The
industrial training given there is probably the best to be found. The schools
as a whole, however, in my opinion, appeal to the head only, and never to the
heart. The aim and trend is to make the individual blindly submissive to the
Prussian plan of world domination. They teach that it is the destiny of Germany
to rule the world, and that to the glory and advance of Germany, in this plan,
all things must give way; that the Kaiser as head of the state can do no wrong
if he carries forward the plan of world control.
Some of the greatest teachers and preachers even defend and justify her
heartless crushing of Belgians and the many other atrocious crimes she has
committed in this war. Thank God, our American education reaches both the head
and the heart. It is an education with a soul, and w must maintain the high
ideals we have fixed. In a word, in Germany, the people are taught that they
exist for the government, while here the government exists to serve the
“Just wait a minute,” interrupted Billie. “Say that again slowly, so I can
write it down.”
Uncle Dan smilingly complied.
Billie exclaimed, “Now we will hand that nut out for Carl to crack. Carl,
you know has a very smart father who keeps him posted on the German arguments.
Carl said our government was only an experiment anyway; that it would not last
20 years, and that it might burst up any old time. Jimmie asked him if Germany
was so mighty good, why did they not go back there to live.”
“Our government will go on forever, won’t it, Uncle Dan?”
“Now,” said Uncle Dan, “you are raising a big question, and one that has
troubled me for years. Our government is still in the experimental stage. In
fact, it is the greatest experiment ever undertaken, and if popular government
is to be successful, a few things must be done, otherwise, to paraphrase the
great Lincoln, the government of the people, by the people and for the people
will perish. It is my firm conviction,” said Uncle Dan in a very impressive
manner, “that if our country is to go on, as we hope and pray, we must very
quickly to at least three things, and I will name them in the order of
importance as it appears to me:
“First, adopt compulsory universal military training of all young men
physically fit before they reach the age of 20 years.
“Next, require that every foreigner who comes here to live must within a
reasonable time, say a year, declare his intention of becoming an American
citizen and take the necessary steps to do so, thereby, from that moment,
assuming all the obligations of citizenship of our country, and that means he
must defend our flag upon equal terms with our native born, and if he is not
willing to do this, he should be sent back from whence he came.”
“That’s the stuff,” exclaimed Billie.
“And, finally, enact such legislation as will make voting compulsory.
Popular government is based upon the participation of all and the rule of the
majority, and democracy cannot continue and be successful unless we live up to
the spirit of the institution.
“The first step, however, is the passage of the Chamberlain bill for
universal military training. If you will get the leading citizen, and
especially the editor of your paper, to write personal letters to your
congressman and both senators, urging their support, it will help enormously.
“I see by the morning papers,” said Uncle Dan, “that the Rotary clubs of the
entire country, the livest, most efficient organization to be found, have
unanimously decided to get back of the Chamberlain bill and give it loyal and
enthusiastic support. The will work with the Universal Military Training league
to accomplish this important piece of legislation, which will do more than
anything else to make us a real nation with a common viewpoint, bring us back
to sane living, and teach us the patriotism of service.”