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The General Staff and Its Problems

The General Staff and Its Problems

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01/29/2012

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NATIONAL VIGOUR AND MAN-POWER

a. NATIONAL VIGOUR

1. The basis of the State is the

family; it

depends on the

number and

fertility of

marriages. The main

purpose of

marriage is

procreation.

2. The number of

marriages has declined since

1900. It

can be increased.

{a) Every healthy man

(exceptions, such as

celibates,

apart) capable of

procreation and

earning his own

living

has a natural

duty and, in view of the excess of

marriage-

able German women, the chance to

marry.

{b) The main reason for the

postponement of

marriage,

as well as the decline in the number of

marriages, is

economic.

Many men are averse to

finding themselves

worse off as the result of

founding a

family. Others,

again, are

prevented or believe themselves

prevented from

Provision for Men Returned from War 215

marrying early by our modern social and industrial

conditions

(slow and

costly training, positions secured

late, living

"

according to social station

").

A material increase in the

starting income is

impossible

for financial and economic reasons, either in the civil

service or the

open professions. Greater

simplicity of

living and freedom from

prejudice alone can

help. The

educated classes must set a better

example. It is desirable

that

persons (of 25 at the earliest and

35 at the

latest) in

receipt of fixed salaries in

public or

private service who

set

up their own households should receive a

bonus,

and that married men should receive

preference over

unmarried in the

making of

appointments, changes of

station, promotion, retirement on

pension, and tax

concessions. The unmarried should be taxed more

heavily to

correspond, say, after the

age of

30. The

average age for

marriage is now

27. There can be no

doubt that

by measures such as these an earlier

average

could be obtained—

especially among the better educated

classes—and this is

very desirable for social and

political,

moral and

hygienic reasons.

(c) A number of men avoid

marriage because

promis-

cuous sexual intercourse

gives them

greater satisfaction,

with fewer material and ethical claims

upon them. In

this matter the

only help can come from better moral

and social

standards, a

stronger condemnation and

punish-

ment of marital

infidelity, insistence on the

obligation of

maintenance, the

punishment of criminal abortion, the

prohibition of the sale of articles

designed to

prevent

conception (see below), the taxation of bachelors.

3. The increase in the number .of divorces reveals a funda-

mental

disregard of the

obligations of husband and wife to

each other and their

joint duty to the

community. The

public conscience must be stirred

against divorce

by the

Church, the schools and the Press.

216 The General Staff and its Problems

4. The number of

marriages increased from

1870 to

1883.

Since then it has declined. Their

fertility had diminished

even earlier, and has been

steadily on the wane.

The reasons for this are :

{a) physical,

{b) moral and economic.

5. As

regards {a). Impotence of the man is seldom con-

stitutional ; it is

usually the result of venereal

disease, especially

gonorrhoea.

Barrenness in women is also

commonly the

consequence of

infection

by men

(especially with chronic

gonorrhcEa). Where

it is due to the unfavourable

position or

development of the

female sexual

organs, modern medical science can often find a

remedy.

It is calculated that 8 to 10

per cent, of all

marriages are

sterile or less fertile than

they should be as a result of infection

by gonorrhoea, and that in

40 per cent, of the cases of sterile

marriages it is the man's fault.

6.

Syphilitic infection of the

parents frequently means

the death of the

embryo, the

premature birth of immature

children, or the birth of

constitutionally weak and

ailing chil-

dren, not to mention the

early decay of the

procreative powers.

Counter-measures against venereal diseases must therefore

be

employed as the

principal weapon against involuntary,

natural

sterility (see below).

7. Voluntary sterile

marriages are due to the wish to

satisfy sexual desire while

avoiding its natural

consequences :

impregnation and the

duty of

looking after children.

It is

morally reprehensible that

purely physical gratification

and the mere comfort of the married

pair should militate

against conception, or that children should be

regarded as an

irksome burden to be avoided.

The moral

point of view on this

question must be

brought

into

harmony with the demands of state

preservation.

Provision for Men Returned from War 217

By state education

every German must learn to

regard his

duties to the state as a

personal, moral

obligation.

8.

Religious and ecclesiastical influences also

play an im-

portant part in the

fertility of

marriage. The

fertiHty of

Catholic

marriages is

greater than that of

evangelical, Jewish

and mixed marriages. The

country produces, relatively, more

children than the towns.

9. The use of

preventatives is

spreading from the towns

into the

country in

increasing measure. An Act should be

passed, and soon, prohibiting traffic in articles for

preventing

conception and

procuring abortion, as well as

against illegal

operations. Drafts have

already been

prepared by the Prussian

Ministerial Commission. In the case of doctors and medical

students the

necessity of

greater restraint in the

practice of

artificial abortion has become

imperative.

10. The

purely pecuniary reasons for the restriction of

families

(" The Two-child

System,"

"

Neo-Malthusianism

")

have, as far as the "

population v.

food-supply

"

theory and the

earning capacity of

Germany are concerned, proved themselves

unsound. Our economic

development gave all German labour

an

opportunity for

employment at

high wages ; it even necessi-

tated the

employment of

foreign workers. After the war the

dearth of labour will be even more

strongly felt.

On the other hand, in

many cases the restriction of families

goes hand in hand with this same rise in social status and

striving for a

higher income ; therefore the chief share of the

responsibility for this social evil must be

put down to the claim

for a

higher standard of

living on the

part of the

parents—

both for themselves and their descendants—and a materiaHstic

view of life.

11. A certain

impetus towards the "

Two-child

System

"

is

given by the

housing conditions, particularly in the towns,

and more

especially the

large towns. The more

plentiful

openings for

employment in urban industries and the amuse-
ments of the towns have led to a rush

fromjhe country, the

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