National Geographic : 1917 May
Photograph from Brown Brothers CONVOY OF TRUCKS PASSING THROUGH A WRECKED VILLAGE NEAR VERDUN "Within a few months we should and will have in service an army of I,ooo,ooo and a navy of 150,000 men. These men must have our best. To prepare against their needs in advance will be a stupendous task which the Red Cross must undertake." AMERICA'S DUTY BY NEWTON D. BAKER, SECRETARY OF WAR 1SHALL not attempt to describe the size of our American duty beyond saying that the human race is a waif left to die unless we, as trustees, accept the task of rescuing it. I suppose there has not been, since the very early times in human history, a war in which slaughter was so casual as it is in this. Of course, there has not been in recorded human history a war in which slaughter was so tremendous in its pro portions as in this war. I speak of its casual character because for a great many hundred years we have been progressing in the direction of lim iting the horrors of war to the combat ants, and that in this twentieth century we should revert to the casual slaughter of children, to the improvident slaughter of women, to the theory of warfare by the extermination of peoples, and to the use of weapons of war like starvation and disease-for both of them have be come weapons of war-is an unthinkable reversion to a barbarous type which it was the hope of the intelligent that the world had outgrown. TRAGIC FIGURES IN HISTORY But, whatever the cause, the fact re mains that the suffering of the people in these warring countries is more wide spread, the desolation and devastation more complete, than ever before within the knowledge of living persons; and as this mode of warfare has not spared little persons, so it has not spared little nations.