— Theodore Roosevelt American politician, 26th president of the United States 1858 - 1919
1910s, Address to the Knights of Columbus (1915)
Contexto: I am certain that the only permanently safe attitude for this country as regards national preparedness for self-defense is along its lines of universal service on the Swiss model. Switzerland is the most democratic of nations. Its army is the most democratic army in the world. There isn't a touch of militarism or aggressiveness about Switzerland. It has been found as a matter of actual practical experience in Switzerland that the universal military training has made a very marked increase in social efficiency and in the ability of the man thus trained to do well for himself in industry. The man who has received the training is a better citizen, is more self-respecting, more orderly, better able to hold his own, and more willing to respect the rights of others and at the same time he is a more valuable and better paid man in his business. We need that the navy and the army should be greatly increased and that their efficiency as units and in the aggregate should be increased to an even greater degree than their numbers. An adequate regular reserve should be established. Economy should be insisted on, and first of all in the abolition of useless army posts and navy yards. The National Guard should be supervised and controlled by the Federal War Department. Training camps such as at Plattsburg should be provided on a nation-wide basis and the government should pay the expenses. Foreign-born as well as native-born citizens should be brought together in those camps; and each man at the camp should take the oath of allegiance as unreservedly and unqualifiedly as the men of its regular army and navy now take it. Not only should battleships, battle cruisers, submarines, ample coast and field artillery be provided and a greater ammunition supply system, but there should be a utilization of those engaged in such professions as the ownership and management of motor cars, in aviation, and in the profession of engineering. Map-making and road improvement should be attended to, and, as I have already said, the railroads brought into intimate touch with the War Department. Moreover, the government should deal with conservation of all necessary war supplies such as mine products, potash, oil lands, and the like. Furthermore, all munition plants should be carefully surveyed with special reference to their geographic distribution and for the possibility of increased munition and supply factories. Finally, remember that the men must be sedulously trained in peace to use this material or we shall merely prepare our ships, guns, and products as gifts to the enemy. All of these things should be done in any event, but let us never forget that the most important of all things is to introduce universal military service. But let me repeat that this preparedness against war must be based upon efficiency and justice in the handling of ourselves in time of peace. If belligerent governments, while we are not hostile to them but merely neutral, strive nevertheless to make of this nation many nations, each hostile to the others and none of them loyal to the central government, then it may be accepted as certain that they would do far worse to us in time of war. If they encourage strikes and sabotage in our munition plants while we are neutral, it may be accepted as axiomatic that they would do far worse to us if we were hostile. It is our duty from the standpoint of self-defense to secure the complete Americanization of our people, to make of the many peoples of this country a united nation, one in speech and feeling, and all, so far as possible, sharers in the best that each has brought to our shores.