Vintage Audio - The Navy Is Ready

Josephus Daniels Click to download as MP3

Reproduced below is the speech recorded by U.S. Naval Secretary Josephus Daniels in 1918 entitled The Navy is Ready.

A pacifist by inclination Daniels nevertheless recognised during the early stages of World War One that the U.S. needed to adopt a state of preparedness for the eventuality, by no means remote, that the U.S. would find herself embroiled in the conflict.

Use the player above to listen to a recording of Daniels' speech from 1918.

The Navy is Ready

"When will you be ready?"  That is the question the British admiral asked when the first division of American destroyers reached Great Britain.  "We are ready now," was the quiet response of the young officer.  He expressed a real spirit of our navy.  This is not the language of boasting.  It was the prophecy and pledge of our service to those fighting in a common cause.

In the trying months that have followed, the readiness and fitness of our men and ships have been tested and established, amid perils more insidious and baffling than those ever before confronted by a nation at war.  The navy has sunk submarines, captured officers and men on U-boats, and driven many into hiding.  It will not relax its vigilance until the menace of those vessels of the sea is ended.

In one week last summer, the navy made contract for more destroyers than have been built since the American nation - the American people - established a navy.  It has built and is building other fighting craft as rapidly as the resources of the country admit.  In personnel the navy has expanded from 75,000 to 300,000 men officers.  So popular is the naval service the only embarrassment is that men volunteer so rapidly we have to work overtime to give them hardy, adequate housing and proper training.

Destroyers were the first to herald our entrance into the war.  But the navy has also commissioned hundreds of other craft.  Charged the duty of transporting the soldiers to France, not one man has been lost.  Charged with putting gun crews on merchant ships it has insured greater safety to commerce afloat.

It was the sacred courage of the navy to make the first supreme sacrifice in maintaining the freedom of the seas.  To compel the nation with challenge the traditional American doctrine of freedom of the seas, every man and every ship in the navy is solemnly pledged.  "We have just begun to fight" was the first slogan of the navy of '76.  That is the slogan of the navy of today.

A "Dixie" (from the Hindi degci) was an army cooking pot.

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