Sivut kuvina

held out for a permanent seat on the League Council. But ah! the pathos of it! It would seem that the twenty daughters do not respond with any show of enthusiasm to the mother's call. You may say that the mother was not of old a good mother and so deserves the rebuff. True, perhaps, but nevertheless infinitely pathetic.


Had Mussolini allowed a reasonable measure of autonomy to his experiment of a modern adaptation of Guild Socialism, the world in general (if not, perhaps, Italy) would consider itself in his debt. But by subjecting it to the most rigid autocratic control he has completely vitiated it.

It is quite evident that Mussolini has completely lost his head; that he no longer has any sense of limitations. There is scarce another instance in the modern history of civilized nations of such assumption of autocratic power as Mussolini's; so great or so swift. A main lesson of that history is that any great departure to Right or Left is followed by a reaction; the greater and swifter the departure, the swifter and more violent the reaction. If Fascismo does not quickly regress toward the Centre, it will come to grief.

To be sure, the economic achievement of Fascismo (that is, of Mussolini, for the Duce's assertion that he and Fascismo are one and the same is quite simply accurate) is considerable; but it is largely due to supereffort, supersacrifices, responsive to high incitement and not to be indefinitely maintained. The new efficiency must needs lapse when the excessive effort falters, when the limit of sacrifice is reached. You must not drive a people too hard; you must respect human limitations. Except, perhaps, for a brief period of a war à outrance, it is not proper to subject

a people to unnatural incitements. In both respects Mussolini has egregiously offended; and I do not hesitate to prophesy that he and the politicoeconomic system he has constructed will pay the penalty. It is a great pity. It behoved that the old constitution be scrapped; that the old parliamentary system, a travesty of British parliamentarism, go into the discard. But only on condition that there should be forthcoming to replace it a far better system, at once corresponding to the peculiar genius of the Italian people and establishing on a firmer and more genuine basis the popular rights and liberties. Instead, Mussolini has produced a system of which the outstanding feature, which completely overshadows all others, is autocracy.

To be sure, a great part of mankind seem to be edified and pleased by Mussolini's relegation of 'rights' to Lethe's wharf and substitution of 'duties' therefor, and by his elegant funerary discourse on the corpse of Liberty'; and they will tell you that Mussolini has given the Italians a system corresponding to their genius, as proved by their enthusiastic acceptance of it. The answer is that the Italian people are ensorcelled.

But though this ensorcellment is no doubt the most extraordinary instance of the sort in history, it is by no means novel. Germany, great, competent, intellectual Germany, afforded a similar instance the other day; we in America are now affording an instance not too dissimilar. There is nothing peculiarly discreditable in the Italian condition; men are what humorous Nature has made them, though perhaps she was in an especially whimsical mood when she created the Italian complex. Anyway, the doings of the Italians during the past year (particularly at this time of writing, the eve of Armistice Day) are out of all cess.

But what is the very head and front of Mussolini's offending? It is the character of the incitements by which he holds the Italian people up to the mark, keeps 'em on the move, maintains their dander. The chief note of his policy during the past year has been the arousing of a 'colonial consciousness.' And to what, pray, is this colonial consciousness to direct itself? Not to any great degree, certainly, to the present colonial possessions of Italy. Those colonies could not by utmost effort of reclamation and development be made to accommodate more than a small part of the Italian surplus of population. Whose tuum, your Excellency, dost thou propose to convert into meum? Tunis, say, or Nice, or Abyssinia, or Anatolia, or Syria; belike every region o'er which the Roman legions thundered, the Roman eagles screamed?

Ah! forget it, forget it, good Benito! Thanks to William of Doorn, your fashion of thought is outmoded. "Trade follows the flag' is 'old hat.' Keep on aspiring till the cows come home, but the Roman Empire is not going to be revived. In certain respects it's a glorious, but in others a hideous, memory. You must reconcile yourself to the idea that, as the Italian population increases, thousands upon thousands of emigrant Italians will in steady succession identify themselves with their adoptive countries and be politically lost to Italy. Remember William of Doorn! Remember William of Doorn! Seeing that you have failed to pierce the irony of the great Italian, substitute for The Prince, as your constant guide, the Four Books of the Confucian Canon. Cultivate the Happy Mean. Hold thy wild horses, sweet chuck, lest worse befal!

But of course there are other aspects of Mussolini. You might say that but for that notable man Europe might be altogether under the spell of the spirit

of Locarno. That would be a pity; some day there would be a terrible reaction, as from every extreme. Europe hath need of all three: Realpolitik, the Spirit of Locarno, and the Comic Spirit. Mussolini may be counted on to supply whatever may be needed of Realpolitik.

After previous attempts on his life Mussolini, to his great credit, displayed a share of the Cæsarean clemency; but apparently the last attempt has hardened his heart and bewildered his head. One may scarcely blame the Duce; three hair's-breadth escapes within six months! Under such circumstances even a Cæsar's equanimity might suffer a shade of impairment. But 'ware dictators when the fear of assassination has sensibly wrought upon their nerves, when magnanimity has given place to vindictiveness!


I regret that I must forbear discourse of a myriad other matters which have contributed to make the past twelvemonth in this courtly and splendid world' (as the great Sir Thomas called it) a more than usually interesting

one; as:

Of Portugal and her coups, and how little the latter signify.

Of Austria and Hungary, and of how the Hungarian Counterfeit Plot created a stench that pervaded the planet and called for a cosmic fumigation.

Of Greece. General Kondylis's gem of a coup and the fall of 'Passionate Pangy.'

Of Russia, or Eurasia; and that, because of the meagreness and vagueness of reports from that great quarter, my silence should be esteemed golden.

Of Turkey. How she has completely reorganized her judicial system on a Western basis, taking over the Swiss Civil Code in toto and large parts of

the Italian Penal Code and the German Commercial Code. Of how Turks did riot, fight, and die in resistance to the order from Angora that hats replace fezzes; and that men have died for worse causes. What joy to the shades of Swift and Carlyle! - the crowning joke of the matter being that the fez is of Greek origin.

Of Persia. Her new monarch, Riza Shah Pehlevi, and how one could wish to have witnessed his coronation, the greatest show of the year.

Of China. The chaoticity of the political chaos; and of how day by day and in every way the Chinese mess grows more messy and China never ceases to outgo herself in incredible fantasticalities and chinoiseries to make the fabulist gasp.

Of derring do; for the year has known sporting adventures of the first rank. In particular (for I already have noticed Byrd's great exploit), of the flight of the Norge; how her gallant company were the first of mankind to supervolate the top o' the world from Europe to Alaska, to gaze on the Pole of Inaccessibility, to pass completely over the 'unexplored region.' They were the first that ever burst over that silent sea. But, a saddening thought! When the last great secret of earth's superficies has been unveiled (the polar regions fully explored, Everest topped), must there be an end to grand adventure? No, no-Nature cannot, having given us such aspiring minds,' cannot be so cruel. On to the Moon's Sphere, on to the region of the planet Hercules!



DISPATCHES from Guantánamo Bay, late in October, giving the details of a gun explosion on the U. S. Scout Cruiser Trenton, the second accident of the kind on that ship in two years, both resulting in fatalities, brought in review the subject of accidents in the Navy, of which, since the World War, there has been a long and decidedly harrowing list. It is not surprising that the nation at large is distressed and much concerned because of these disasters. The public is asking whether the accidents in question are preventable or are to be endured as a necessary evil, and if it may not be true


that 'our ships and personnel are being jeopardized by official inefficiency, bureaucratic stupidity, and, perhaps, political expediency.'

Including the loss of the Shenandoah, but excluding other accidents in the Naval Air Service and the post-war mine-sweeping operations of 1919 in the North Sea, the Navy has sustained forty-six major accidents since World War demobilization. Sixteen of these have been destroyer accidents, nineteen have been submarine accidents; the others include turret and gun explosions, the disappearance of a naval tug en route to the Far East, damage to two

cruisers, and the shore-station disaster at Lake Denmark Magazine. Two hundred and fifty-nine lives were lost in these accidents; forty-three when the tug Conestoga vanished, one hundred and thirty-five by the explosions and fires, twenty-eight by destroyer losses, thirty-nine by submarine collisions and sinkings, and fourteen when the Shenandoah broke up and crashed.

In the Naval Air Service since the World War, including flight training, the hazards of experimental flying, the dangers of intricate evolutions involved in squadron flying in day and night manœuvres, the development of catapult launching, and the new science of taking off and landing on plunging and rolling carrier decks, accidents have resulted in one hundred and seventyseven fatalities.

As a matter of justice to all concerned, it should be remembered that naval aviation is an extrahazardous service; no other activity in the entire Navy is quite comparable with it from the standpoint of potential and actual danger to personnel. It has been computed from records in the Navy Department that officer deaths in the air service are as forty-nine to one compared with those of officers in general service, submarine duty included. It is obvious that by its peculiar status aviation should have separate treatment at greater length than can be accommodated in this discussion; suffice to say that improvements in planes and engines and added facilities for control and navigation are making the service less hazardous as time goes on. Recent statistics, covering the period from 1919 to the present, show that fatalities in relation to hours in the air and to miles flown are decreasing in constantly diminishing ratios.

Through personal contact one recognizes that in connection with these disasters there is a certain amount

VOL. 139 - NO. 1

of naïve resignation if not vicarious professional martyrdom among naval officers. One is not aware that the Navy as a whole feels that it is on the defensive. Honest, constructive criticism is apparently welcomed as a stimulating goad to progress and achievement. But the silent, dogged application on the part of its personnel, to the outsider a seeming indifference to critical opinion, bewilders the public and leads to the conclusion that 'there's something in this naval woodpile besides wood.'

Perhaps one of the chief glories of this nation is the ability of its people to face fact and fight it, to grasp unpleasant truth and wring from it the essence of ultimate success. This being granted, let us test the somewhat brutal facts surrounding these naval tragedies, to determine, if possible, remedies for their minimization if not for their final eradication.

Because they are most familiar to the public, let us select these disasters: the Honda accident, when seven destroyers rammed the rocky shore of California, with the loss of the vessels and twenty-two lives; the turret explosion on the battleship Mississippi, resulting in the deaths of forty-eight men; the wrecking of the rigid airship Shenandoah in a storm over the Ohio Valley, at a cost of fourteen lives; the sinking of the submarine S-51 by the steamship City of Rome, with a toll of thirty-four lives; and the explosion and fire at Lake Denmark, which snuffed out twenty-two lives and destroyed forty millions in property.


Trite but true is the statement that ships alone do not constitute navies. Ships are merely tools; the character of its personnel is the index of a navy's efficiency. I am aware that 'efficiency' is a relative word, like 'power' or 'size,'

and that the unremitting efforts of skilled and loyal men may be most seriously handicapped by insufficient appropriations for matériel maintenance, by high administrative incompetence, and by outside political influence; but personnel characterized by high morale will go far to offset other handicaps. Consequently our first consideration is the present morale status of our Navy.

When the destroyers went ashore on Honda Point, the lives of eight hundred men were in jeopardy. The heroism of these men, caught between grinding rock and relentless pounding wave, saved all but twenty-two. When the powder charge exploded in the Mississippi's turret, killing nearly all the men in it, the men in the powder-handling room remained at their posts, closed the doors to the magazines to keep out the flames, and made every effort to extinguish the burning powder grains falling into the room. One man in the turret reached up his dying hand and pulled the lever operating the sprinkler device, an act which prevented the burning of several hundred pounds of powder that, once ignited, would have sent the ship to the bottom and her twelve hundred men into eternity.

Facing destruction, Commander Lansdowne, from the control car of the Shenandoah, in quiet conversational tones gave his orders for the management of the doomed ship; and, after the car had broken away and the ship had split into storm-tossed sections, the men in those sections calmly manœuvred them to earth. Most of the loss of life in this accident occurred when the control car fell, breaking the ship to pieces as it tore loose. Again, the opening of the hull of the S-51 after her recovery from the bottom of Block Island Channel revealed that her officers and men died at their posts, with hands on control levers and radio

keys; while the men killed at Lake Denmark were all hurrying toward the points of greatest danger.

It is not too much to say that the conduct of these men points to the fact that the morale of the United States Navy may well serve as an inspiration to the country's manhood. Such high morale is not gained by accident, nor is it maintained without constant vigilance; even allowing for outside influences, its worst enemies are probably within the service itself.

An example is the case of the admiral who, without warning or explanation to the loyal men affected, so coaxed and cajoled a newly appointed Secretary, intent on a policy of 'economy,' that that functionary disenrolled thousands of naval reserves and put out of commission an organization which, through years of hard and patriotic work, had grown to worth-while efficiency and had proved to be one of the mainstays of the war-expanded Navy. Although the Secretary made what belated amends he could, this admiral has never been called to account; indeed, his act has been officially excused on the mere plea of economic necessity. The pen stroke that disenrolled these men, on whom had been spent millions in training, could have been better employed in transferring them to Class VI in the Reserve, a class volunteering to serve without re

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