This section contains three documents from the collection of Edith Wakeman Hughes. Mrs. Hughes was the chairperson of the first Navy Day in North Dakota in October 1922. While these documents concern Navy Day rather than disarmament, they contain sentiments about arms and peace that reveal the intertwining of our desire for peace insured by a well-armed nation. Remarks from Rear Admiral Mahan are also included.
Read these documents carefully before completing the Activities.
The first letter, dated September 11, 1922, was written by the national chairman of the Navy Day committee inviting Governor Nestos of North Dakota to participate in Navy Day. Note especially the middle paragraph which suggests that the Navy ensures peace through power.
The second letter, a telegram from Governor Nestos to Secretary of the Navy Edwin Denby, indicates that North Dakotans favor Naval Disarmament while honoring the accomplishments of the Navy.
In the third letter, Senator Arthur Capper of Kansas pledges to honor Navy Day in 1923 while expressing his approval of both arms limitation and the importance of “naval power.”
The following quote is an excerpt from statements made by Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (September 27, 1840–December 1, 1914) that were published in the Bismarck Tribune on September 15, 1914, just as Europe was beginning to engage in World War I. Admiral Mahan is regarded as the man who designed the modern navy in the 1880s.
The problem of the A-B-G (all big guns) ship is a highly interesting one, and we may learn through this war of its worth. But the lesson will not be shown in any ship-to-ship fight. Dreadnaught against dreadnaught will be no different than one old frigate against another old frigate in the days gone by.
The really interesting and instructive combat would be between, say, a dozen dreadnaughts and a dozen and a half smaller battleship size. We might see whether or not the 12- or 14-inch gun is of so great importance as has lately been asserted.
I cannot say that I agree with the idea of the A-B-G ships. England, of course, originated the original dreadnaught, and cackled like a chicken that had laid an egg, and got everyone else building A-B-Gs. But I think all the navies are coming around to what we called the mixed battery ship, and that is as it should be.
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