Note for a Planned Article
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Why America Fights Germany
In ... March ... appeared [the CPI pamphlet]... Why America Fights Germany, by Professor John S. P. Tatlock of Stanford University. "The net of German intrigue has encom passed the world," wrote the author, who was professor of English. He repeated the assertion: "We must fight Germany in Europe with help, that we may not have to fight her in America without help/' One passage of this pamphlet made a profound impression in 1918 and was widely quoted:
"Now let us picture what a sudden invasion of the United States by these Germans would mean; sudden, because their settled way is always to attack suddenly. First they set them selves to capture New York City. While their fleet blockades the harbor and shells the city and the forts from far at sea, their troops land somewhere near and advance toward the city in order to cut its rail communications, starve it into surrender and then plunder it. One body of from 50,000 to 100,000 men lands, let us suppose, at Barnegat Bay, New Jersey, and ad vances without meeting resistance, for the brave but small American army is scattered elsewhere. They pass through Lakewood, a station on the Central Railroad of New Jersey. They first demand wine for the officers and beer for the men. Angered to find that an American town does not contain large quantities of either, they pillage and burn the post office and most of the hotels and stores. Then they demand $1,000,000 from the residents. One feeble old woman tries to conceal $20 which she has been hoarding in her desk drawer; she is taken out and hanged (to save a cartridge) . Some of the teachers in two district schools meet a fate which makes them envy her. The Catholic priest and Methodist minister are thrown into a pig-sty, while the German soldiers look on and laugh. Some of the officers quarter themselves in a handsome house on the edge of the town, insult the ladies of the family, and de stroy and defile the contents of the house.
By this time some of the soldiers have managed to get drunk; one of them discharges his gun accidentally, the cry goes up that the residents are firing on the troops, and then hell breaks loose. Robbery, murder and outrage run riot. Fifty leading citizens are lined up against the First National Bank building, and shot. Most of the town and the beautiful pinewoods are burned, and then the troops move on to treat New Brunswick in the same way if they get there. "This is not just a snappy story. It is not fancy. The general plan of campaign against America has been announced repeatedly by German military men. And every horrible detail is just what the German troops have done in Belgium and France." Professor Tatlock concluded this frightening account with a call for all Americans to enlist in the fight. "We shall feel brotherly toward the German nation again if two things can be changed, their government and their spirit." Circulation was nearly three-quarters of a million copies.