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The Evening Star TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1914., Issue 15652, 17 November 1914
The Evening Star TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1914.
~ Jamea Allen or Dr Robert M'Nab is entitled to be proclaimed the actual author of our National Service scheme is of more interest to ench of the disputant* for the honor than to the people ©£ the Dominion at this hour of Empire crisis. One thing is certain, however—via., that Sir Joseph Ward, who has la these latex yeara blossomed into a perfervid Imperialist, and essays to play the xole of prophet, gave utterance—«o recently as 1908—to sentiment- that did him infinite credit ae a politician whose vision did not travel beyond the ahores of this Dominion, We refer our readers to our ten* of October 23, 1908, which contain some interesting references to the ' question of Defence, *s expounded by Sir Joseph in the course of a speech delivered i Ijy himi at Feilding. The- Brinie Minister
yfsstßsa v» ±IOO, Compulsory military Training.
referring to Xew Zealand's dependence on the Imperial Navy, and by condemning what ho deecrilted as the " insidious" at tempts made by some people to stir up militarism in tl» Dominion. *Ho then went ou to sav i
New Zoaiandcrs ought to recognise that they had a great deal to do in the matter of defence, and that the subject had to be tackled seriously and in a practical manner. It any attempt were niadu to force down the throats of the people a, t-ystem .such as that which existed in sonic of the. Continental countries, and to compel them to give up their callings for a time, he had no doubt as to what the answer would be. They had got a system which was not as good as it might bo or ought to be. How were they going to establish a system which would provide against invaders coming to Xew Zealand? What iioneentjc! If" they believed that such a contingency might happen, they would have to provide for setting up an army . In this country and train every inair and woman to the use of arms. (A Voice: - 'So they should be.") "You j will not find any sane man suggesting tlw practical possibility of a I'o'eign | army coming to this country. The only j thing _ possible would be a raid; but | that is an entirely different thing tc any army coming to Xew Zealand." All that New Zealand had to do wae to two that she had an effective system. and was in the position of being able to ear that every man—if the necessity ever arose—world make a capable soldier. It should be provided that young men could become volunteers at 16 years of ago instead of 20 years, as at present. If this were done, the Cadets would be able to join, and a system would be of.tab'ished which would ensure an adequate supply of reserves in New Zealand. At present there were 25 per cent, of new volunteers every year. Nothing was to be gainsd by calling up and expounding wild theories. lie did not believe in trying to achieve the impossible, but if something were done to fully equip a volunteer soldier at. 21 years of age, they would bo providing the necessary material fo : counteracting anything in the shape of a raid. It was on these lines that New Zealand should work. Evolution could not be brought about in the twinkling of an eye, and change* had to be made gradually. Ho ha 1 ht-ard eonw men talking of compulsory mil'tn.ry training who had never served a day in a volunteer corps, and business men too, who had not a volunteer in their cvmploy. A great deal, he admittfd, yet remained to be done; "but." be said, "let. us not be led away by hysterical cries."' Australia was in a different position to New Zealand. The Commonwealth comprised a hind of vast territory, and the shadow of the East was over Australia. It was a- country with natural advantages suitable to the requirements of the people ! of the East, and naturally was a country j which had to provide against cor.tingen- | cies wh ; ch might arise because- of the | reasons he "hnd referred to. i "In conclusion he caid: ) Australia is going to preserve its whita j rare. I do not need to say what the j feeling of New Zealand is on that point Anyone who reads the above remarks | dispassionately and without party bias i must come to the conclusion that six J years ago Sir Joseph had no idea (to use Lord Kitchener's well-known phrase) of j " an Empire struggling for its existence." He merely thought of a foreign raid oi: J New Zealand. How narrow, how puerile, j and how unstatesmanlike were these j Feilding utterances can be fully realises j to-day. Of course, Sir Joseph may claim j (as he doubtless will do on Thursday j evening) that he was merely erred in com- j mon with many other front-bench poli- ! ticians. In 1908 he was one of the wise ; ones who affected to know better than 1 Lord Roberts, but to-day he is doubtless . bubbling over with a perfect artesian ! well of sympathy with and eulogy of the j greatest military genius of our Empire [ within modern times. May it not occur to ! him that if, instead of sneering at Com i pulsory Military Training as he certainly 1 did in 1908, he had then taken a lead, such ' as ho was often pleased to take in re- j gard to other matters, a solid foundation j would havo beeu laid for his claim tc j true Imperial statesmanship. But, alas, j ho Is a statesman on such issues when tho electors compel him to be. The i province of a statesman is to look ahead : \ to weigh tho current feeling of the electorr. j is tho professed art of tho politician. | Our readers should havo no difficulty in i appreciating the distinction between the j statesman and tho politician. In this j connection, it may not. be out of place i hero to remind our readers that when Mr I John JJ'Donald was Mayor of Dunedin | he circularised his brother Mayors throuch j the Dominion, inviting them to call | simultaneous meetings in every city and J borough in support of a project for I establishing Compulsory Military Train- j ing. It would be interesting indeed to i know if the text of this circular ever came under the notice of Sir Joseph; and if so, what assistance ho gave as Defence Minister to tho projected scheme. To-day we are called upon to look in the face tho military aspect of a greatEmpire struggling for its very existence. " Men, and more men." is the call of England's War Minister. Is it to go forth to tho world that, notwithstanding- the example of Canada and Australia, New Zealand moans to lag behind? Have our effective fighters become impregnated with tho pernicious idea that their solo duty is to defend Now Zealand against any possible raid? To save their own skins, will they riermlfc the integrity of this great Empire, to be upheld by tho Japanese, tho Belgians, the French, and the Russians, while thoy lie snug in their beds in their homes —patriotic only to the extent of flagwaving, and patriotic (God save tho mark!; in the sense of being " good sports " ? Wa do not and cannot believe it. To do bo j would bo to admit that tho young New Zealander—apart from the mere idea of Empire — has no thought for the mother who bore him, or for bis sister, or for his sweetheart He is willing to stand aside and to allow others to fight for his womenfolk, while ho continues to play cricket and football, or to indulge in other forms of outdoor or, U he has
musical tastes, while ho sings the ' Marseillaise' and informs the public at largo that, through no effort of his own, Britons never, never, .never shall be slaves 1 Such a condition of affairs is absolutely and positively unthinkable. To our wonienkind—to the mothers, the sisters, and the sweethearts of Young New Zealand —we would venture to address these hoartquestions : Are yon blameless in this relation? Is this your patriotism that, so long a» your son or your sweetheart is safe, you care not for the blood and sacrifice of the bravo sons and lovers of other women who are dying to protect these males of yours whom you would deck in white feathers rather than encourage to be men'' Yours is an awful responsibility. If a day of reckoning should come, us it surely will without sufficient men to ward it off, you will deserve the reproach of these nobler women who, recognising in this awful crisis the scourge of God, Lend their heads and fortify their hearts in order to strengthen the hands of their fighting men.
fn a time of national crisis like the present the women must weep and the elder men in the community must provide the sinews of war without stint, hut the young men and the middle-aged men (if need bo) must fight. The single man who is war-fit but shows himself war-shy will never be forgotten, and throughout his life his horizon will be dimmed by the ever appearance on it of one word—Coward! To him his mother and his sweetheart will be welcome, but of him the Dominion and the Empire has no need ever after. Then let our young men who are capable of bearing arms for the maintenance of our Empire intact stand forth, with determination to show to the world, and especially to the Empire’s common enemy, that they are ready and willing to join their British, their Canadian, and their Australian bro-thers-in-arms in an heroic struggle for the preservation of that Empire of which—never forget this outstanding factor, ye youth of Now Zealand—(New Zealand is proud to bo an integral part.
The Evening Star TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1914., Issue 15652, 17 November 1914
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