Current History, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June 1918 online

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American troops than the American troops are to it. To watch the
American trooper from Arkansas or Chicago being shown over a castle
which is not only older than the United States, but was in its prime
under Louis XII., and dates back to a Roman fortress now beneath it, is
a wonderful sight. Here the American soldier shows himself a charming
child. There is nothing of the "Innocents Abroad" about him. I heard
scarcely anything (except about telephones and railways) of any American
brag of modernism in this ancient part of France. On the contrary, the
soldier is learning with open eyes, and trying to learn with open ears,
all these wonders of the past among which he has been suddenly put. The
officer, too, even the educated officer, is beautifully astonished at
all this past, which he had read about, but which, quite possibly, he
didn't really believe to exist. The American officers who speak
French - and there are some of them, coming chiefly from the Southern
States - are, of course, heroes in every town, and sought after in cafés
at recreation hours by every French officer and man. Those who do not
know French are learning it, and I remember a picturesque sight, that of
a very elderly, prim French governess in black, teaching French to
American subalterns in a Y.M.C.A. canteen.

A great French preacher the other day, in his sermon in a Paris church,
said that this coming to France of millions of English troops and future
millions of American troops may mean eventually one of the greatest
changes in Continental Europe the world has ever known. His words never
seemed to me so full of meaning as they did when I was among the
Americans in the heart of France. There, of course, the contrast is
infinitely greater than it can be in the France which our own troops are
occupying and defending. These young, fresh, hustling, keen Americans,
building up numerous works of all kinds to prepare for defending France,
have brought with them Chinese labor and negro labor; and Chinese and
negroes and German and Austrian prisoners all work in these American
camps under American officers' orders. Imagine what an experience, what
a miracle, indeed, this spectacle seems to the country-folk of this old
French soil, who have always lived very quietly, who never wanted to go
anywhere else, and who knew, indeed, that France had allies fighting and
working for her, but had never seen any of them until these Americans
came across three thousand miles of ocean.

Something of a miracle, also, is what our new allies are accomplishing.
They are doing everything on a huge scale. I saw aviation camps,
training camps, aviation schools, vast tracts where barracks were being
put up, railways built, telegraphs and telephones installed by Chinese
labor, negro labor, German prisoners' labor, under the direction of
American skilled workmen, who are in France by the thousand. There are
Y.M.C.A. canteens, Red Cross canteens, clubs for officers and for men,
theatres and cinemas for the army, and a prodigious amount of food - all
come from America. The hams alone I saw strung up in one canteen would
astonish the boches. American canned goods, meat, fruit, condensed milk,
meal, &c., have arrived in France in stupendous quantities. No body of
American troops land in France until what is required for their
sustenance several weeks ahead is already stored in France. Only the
smallest necessaries are bought on the spot, and troops passing through
England on their way to France are strictly forbidden, both officers and
men, to buy any article of food whatsoever in England. As for the
quality, the American has nothing to complain of, so far as I could see.
All pastry, cakes, sweets are henceforth prohibited throughout civilian
France, but the American troops rightly have all these things in plenty.
I saw marvelous cakes and tarts, which would create a run on any Paris
or London teashop, and the lady who manages one American Red Cross
canteen (by the way, she is an Englishwoman, and is looked up to by the
American military authorities as one of the best organizers they have
met) explained to me wonderful recipes they have for making jam with
honey and preserved fruit. The bread, of course, they make themselves,
and, as is right, it is pure white flour bread, such as no civilian
knows nowadays.

One motors through scores of villages and more, and every little old
French spot swarms with American Tommies billeted in cottages and
farmhouses. Many of them marched straight to their billets from their
landing port, and the experience is as wonderful for them, just spirited
over from the wilds of America, as it is for the villagers who welcome
these almost fabulous allies. But it is the engineering, building, and
machinery works the Americans are putting up which are the most
astonishing. Gangs of workers have come over in thousands. Many of these
young chaps are college men, Harvard or Princeton graduates. They dig
and toil as efficiently as any laborer, and perhaps with more zeal. One
American Major told me with glee how a party of these young workers
arrived straight from America at 3:30 P. M., and started digging at 5
A. M. next morning. "And they liked it; it tickled them to death." Many
of these drafts, in fact, were sick and tired of inaction in ports
before their departure from America, and they welcomed work in France as
if it were some great game.

Perhaps the biggest work of all the Americans are doing is a certain
aviation camp and school. In a few months it has neared completion, and
when it is finished it will, I believe, be the biggest of its kind in
the world. There pilots are trained, and trained in numbers which I may
not say, but which are comforting. The number of airplanes they use
merely for training, which also I must not state, is in itself
remarkable. "Training pilots is the one essential thing," I was told by
the C.O. These flying men - or boys - who have, of course, already been
broken in in America, do an additional course in France, and when they
leave the aviation camp I saw they are absolutely ready for air fighting
at the front. This is the finishing school. The aviators go through
eight distinct courses in this school. They are perfected in flying, in
observation, in bombing, in machine-gun firing. On even a cloudy and
windy day the air overhead buzzes with these young American fliers, all
getting into the pink of condition to do their stunts at the front. They
seemed to me as keen as our own flying men, and as well disciplined.
They live in the camp, and it requires moving heaven and earth for one
of them to get leave to go even to the nearest little quiet old town.

The impression is the same of the American bases in France as of the
American front in France. I found there and here one distinctive
characteristic, the total absence of bluff. I was never once told that
we were going to be shown how to win the war. I was never once told that
America is going to win the war. I never heard that American men and
machines are better than ours, but I did hear almost apologies from
American soldiers because they had not come into the war sooner. They
are, I believe, spending now more money than we are - indeed, the pay of
their officers is about double that of ours. I said something about the
cost. "Yes, but you see we must make up for lost time," was all the
American General said. And he told me about the splendid training work
that is being done now in the States by British and French officers who
have gone out there knowing what war is, and who teach American officers
and men from first-hand experience. This particular General hoped that
by this means in a very short time American troops arriving in France
may be sent much more quickly to the front than is now the case.

An impression of complete, businesslike determination is what one gets
when visiting the Americans in France. A discipline even stricter than
that which applies in British and French troops is enforced. In towns,
officers, for instance, are not allowed out after 9 P. M. Some towns
where subalterns discovered the wine of the country have instantly been
put "out of bounds." No officer, on any pretext whatsoever, is allowed
to go to Paris, except on official business. From the camps they are not
even allowed to go to the neighboring towns. They have, to put it quite
frankly, a reputation of wild Americanism to live down, and they
sometimes surprise the French by their seriousness. It is a striking
sight to see American officers and men flocking into tiny little French
Protestant churches on Sundays in this Catholic heart of France. The
congregation is a handful of old French Huguenots, and the ancient,
rigid French pasteur never in his life preached to so many, and
certainly never to soldiers from so far. They come from so far, and from
such various parts, these Americans, and for France, as well as for
themselves, it is a wonderful experience. I was told that the postal
censors who read the letters of the American expeditionary force are
required to know forty-seven languages. Of these languages the two least
used are Chinese and German.

American Shipbuilders Break All Records

Charles M. Schwab Speeds the Work

[MONTH ENDED MAY 15, 1918]

All shipbuilding records have been broken by American builders in the
last month. On May 14 it was announced that the first million tons of
ships had been completed and delivered to the United States Government
under the direction of the Shipping Board. The actual figures on May 11
showed the number of ships to be 159, aggregating 1,108,621 tons. More
than half of this tonnage was delivered since Jan. 1, 1918. Most of
these ships were requisitioned on the ways or in contract form when the
United States entered the war. This result had been anticipated in the
monthly records, which showed a steady increase in the tonnage launched:

Number of
Ships Aggregate
Month. Launched. Tonnage.

January 11 91,541
February 16 123,100
March 21 166,700

The rapidity with which ships are being produced was shown by the
breaking of the world's record on April 20 and in turn the breaking of
this record on May 5. On the former date the 8,800-ton steel steamship
West Lianga was launched at Seattle, Wash., fifty-five working days from
the date the keel was laid. This was then the world's record. But on May
5 at Camden, N. J., the steel freight steamship Tuckahoe, of 5,548 tons,
was launched twenty-seven days after the keel was laid.

Ten days after this extraordinary achievement the Tuckahoe was finished
and furnished and ready for sea - another record feat.

Charles M. Schwab, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bethlehem
Steel Corporation, was on April 16, 1918, appointed Director General of
the Emergency Fleet Corporation to speed up the Government's
shipbuilding program. He was invested with practically unlimited powers
over all construction work in shipyards producing vessels for the
Emergency Fleet Corporation. Charles Piez in consequence ceased to be
General Manager of the Corporation, remaining, however, as Vice
President to supervise administrative details of construction and
placing contracts.

Mr. Schwab, who was the fifth man to be put in charge of the
shipbuilding program, was not desirous of accepting the position when
first approached because he considered his work in producing steel of
first importance in the carrying out of the nation's war program. But
after a conference with President Wilson, Edward N. Hurley, Chairman of
the Shipping Board; Bainbridge Colby, another member of the board, and
Charles Piez, he decided to accept the new position.

Almost the first thing Mr. Schwab did was to move his headquarters to
Philadelphia as the centre of the steel-shipbuilding region, taking with
him all the division chiefs of the Fleet Corporation directly connected
with construction work and about 2,000 employes. The Shipping Board and
Mr. Piez retained their offices in Washington with 1,500 subordinates
and employes. As a further step toward decentralization it was arranged
to move the operating department, including agencies such as the
Interallied Ship Control Committee, headed by P. A. S. Franklin, to New
York City.

The original "cost-plus" contract under which the Submarine Boat
Corporation of Newark was to build 160 ships of 5,000 tons for the
Government was canceled by Mr. Schwab as an experiment to determine
whether shipyards operating under lump-sum contracts and accepting all
responsibility for providing materials could make greater speed in
construction than those operating with Government money, such as the Hog
Island yards. The result was to increase the cost of each of the 160
ships from $787,500 to $960,000.

A request for an appropriation of $2,223,835,000 for the 1919 program
was presented by Mr. Hurley and Mr. Schwab to the House Appropriations
Committee on May 8.

Of this total $1,386,100,000 was for construction of ships and
$652,000,000 for the purchasing and requisitioning of plants and
material in connection with the building program.

Third Liberty Loan Oversubscribed

Approximately 17,000,000 Buyers

When the Third Liberty Loan, raised to finance America's war needs,
closed on May 4, 1918, the subscriptions were well over $4,000,000,000,
a billion in excess of the amount called for. The total was announced on
May 17 as $4,170,019,650. Secretary McAdoo stated that he would allot
bonds in full on all subscriptions.

The loan was regarded as the most successful ever floated by any nation,
not so much because of the volume of sales, but because of the wide
distribution of the loan. Approximately 17,000,000 individuals
subscribed, that is, about one person in every six in the United States.
The number of buyers in the Third Loan exceeded those in the Second by
7,000,000 and those in the First by 12,500,000.

The campaign throughout the country was conducted with all the
thoroughness of a great political struggle, with the difference that
there were no contending parties and all forces were marshaled to make
the loan a success. Nor was the campaign merely a display of efficient
organization and vigorous propaganda. It had many features of dramatic
and picturesque interest, not only in the large cities, but in almost
every smaller centre of the nation. A noonday rally of 50,000 men and
women in Wall Street, New York, on the closing day, was typical. An
eyewitness described it thus:

The Police Department Band appeared and the band of the 15th Coast
Artillery from Fort Hamilton. Taking advantage of the occasion,
James Montgomery Flagg now appeared in his studio van on the
southern fringe of the Broad Street crowd. A girl with him played
something on the cornet. It was a good deal like a show on the
Midway at a Western county fair. But this was no faker - one of the
most famous artists in America, throwing in a signed sketch of
whoever bought Liberty bonds. Those near him began pushing and
crowding to take advantage of the offer.

And now, suddenly, a tremendous racket up the street toward
Broadway. Who comes?

Cheer on cheer, now. It is the "Anzacs." Twelve long, rangy fellows,
officers all, six or seven of them with the little brass "A" on the
shoulder, which signifies service at Gallipoli and in Flanders. They
are members of the contingent of 500 which arrived here yesterday on
its way to the battlefields of France. They run lightly up the
Sub-Treasury steps and take their stand in a group beside the
soldier band.

And now they all come - all the actors in the drama of the day.
Governor Whitman, bareheaded, solemn-faced; Rabbi Stephen Wise, with
his rugged face and his shock of blue-black hair; Mme.
Schumann-Heink, panting a little with excitement; Auguste Bouilliz,
baritone of the Royal Opera of Brussels, who later is to thrill them
all with his singing of the "Marseillaise"; Cecil Arden, in a
shining helmet and draped in the Union Jack, come to sing "God Save
the King," while the sunburned Australian officers stand like
statues at salute; Oscar Straus, and then -


Oh, how they cheered! For the "Blue Devils" of France had poured out
of the door of the Sub-Treasury and, with the fitful sun shining
once more and gleaming on their bayonets, were running down the
steps in two lines, past the "Anzacs," past the soldier band, to
draw up in ranks at the bottom.

Lieutenant de Moal speaks. What does he say? Who knows? But he is
widely cheered, just the same, as he gives way to Governor Whitman.

"There are gatherings like this, though not so large, all over our
land today," cries the Governor. "In every town and city we
Americans are gathered together at this moment to demonstrate that
we are behind our army, behind our navy, behind our President."

The cheers that acclaimed his mention of the President drowned his
voice for several moments.

"Here are the Australians," he cries, pointing to the "Anzac"
officers. "They have brought us a message, but we are going to give
them a message, too."

As the Governor stepped back to cheers that rocked the street,
Lieutenant de Moal barked a sharp order, and the "Blue Devils"
shouldered their guns with fixed bayonets, the six trumpeters
ta-ra-ta-raed, and the soldiers of France moved off up the sidewalk
lane to the side door of the Stock Exchange, where all business was
suspended during the fifteen minutes of their visit on the floor.

Four of the "Anzacs" meanwhile were taken from their ranks on the
steps of the building up to the pedestal of the statue of
Washington, which was used as speaker's platform, and Captain Frank
McCallam made a brief address.

"We haven't many men left," he said simply. "And it is up to you
people to help us out to the best of your ability."

More cheers, and then Cecil Arden sang "God Save the King." The
American regular fired a blank volley over the heads of the crowd,
and the kids scrambled for the empty shells.

Following Wise and Straus, Bouilliz, the Belgian baritone, sang the
"Marseillaise," and then, after the soldier band had played "Where
Do We Go from Here, Boys?" Mme. Schumann-Heink advanced and sang the
national anthem, following it up with an appeal that was the climax
to the play.

Less exciting but more impressive was the parade on April 26, when
thousands of mothers who had sent their sons to the front marched in a
column of 35,000 men and women in the Liberty Day parade in New York
City. This day had been proclaimed as such by President Wilson for "the
people of the United States to assemble in their respective communities
and liberally pledge anew their financial support to sustain the
nation's cause, and to hold patriotic demonstrations in every city,
town, and hamlet throughout the land."

The challenge of the mothers was inscribed on one of the banners they
carried: "We give our sons - they give their lives - what do you give?"

Remarkable as was the appearance of these mothers with the little
service flags over their shoulders, many of them so old that they
marched with difficulty, the spectators who flanked the line of march
along Fifth Avenue from Washington Square to Fifty-ninth Street found it
even more thrilling to note that so very many of them, whether they were
mothers or young wives, or just young girls proud of the brothers that
had gone forth to service - so very many of them carried service flags
with three and four and five and even six stars, and occasionally a
glint of the sun would even carry the eye to a gold star, which meant,
whenever it appeared, a veil of mourning for a wooden cross somewhere in

Among the minor but ingenious forms of publicity was the Liberty Loan
ball which was rolled from Buffalo to New York, a distance of 470 miles,
and which ended its journey of three weeks on May 4 at the City Hall.
The ball was a large steel shell covered with canvas.

Every community that reached or exceeded its quota to the loan was
entitled to raise a flag of honor specially designed for the purpose. At
least 32,000 communities gained the honor and raised the flag.

To strengthen the financial basis of the nation's war industries and use
monetary resources to the best advantage the War Finance Corporation
bill was passed by Congress and approved by President Wilson on April 5,
1918. The two main purposes of the act are to provide credits for
industries and enterprises necessary or contributory to the prosecution
of the war and to supervise new issues of capital. The act creates the
War Finance Corporation, consisting of the Secretary and four additional
persons, with $500,000,000 capital stock, all subscribed by the United
States. Banks and trust companies financing war industries or
enterprises may receive advances from the corporation.

Former War Loans of the United States

A Historical Retrospect

_The United States Government asked for $2,000,000,000 on the First
Liberty Loan in the Spring of 1917, and $3,034,000,000 was subscribed by
over 4,000,000 subscribers. For the Second Loan, near the end of 1917,
$3,000,000,000 was sought, and $4,617,532,300 was subscribed by
9,420,000 subscribers._

_The Guaranty Trust Company of New York in a recent brochure reviewed
the history of the various war loans of the United States, beginning
with the Revolutionary loans, as follows:_

When the patriots at Lexington "fired the shot heard 'round the world,"
the thirteen Colonies found themselves suddenly in the midst of war, but
with practically no funds in their Treasuries. The Continental Congress
was without power to raise money by taxation, and had to depend upon
credit bills and requisitions drawn against the several Colonies. France
was the first foreign country to come to the aid of struggling America,
the King of France himself advancing us our first loan. All told,
France's loan was $6,352,500; Holland loaned us $1,304,000; and Spain
assisted us with $174,017. Our loan from France was repaid between 1791
and 1795 to the Revolutionary Government of France; the Holland loan
during the same period in five annual installments, and the Spanish loan
in 1792-3.

Our first domestic war loan of £6,000 was made in 1775, and the loan was
taken at par. A year and a half later found Congress laboring under
unusual difficulties. Boston and New York were held by the enemy, the
patriot forces were retreating, and the people were as little inclined
to submit to domestic taxation as they had formerly been to "taxation
without representation." To raise funds even a lottery was attempted. In
October, 1776, Congress authorized a second loan for $5,000,000. It was
not a pronounced success, only $3,787,000 being raised in twelve months.
In 1778 fourteen issues of paper money were authorized as the only way
to meet the expenses of the army. By the end of the year 1779 Congress
had issued $200,000,000 in paper money, while a like amount had been
issued by the several States. In 1781, as a result of this financing and
of the general situation, Continental bills of credit had fallen 99 per

Then came Robert Morris, that genius of finance, who found ways to raise
the money which assured the triumph of the American cause. By straining
his personal credit, which was higher than that of the Government, he
borrowed upon his own individual security on every hand. On one occasion
he borrowed from the commander of the French fleet, securing the latter
with his personal obligation. If Morris and other patriotic citizens had
not rendered such assistance to the Government, some of the most
important campaigns of the Revolutionary War would have been impossible.
Following came the Bank of Pennsylvania, which issued its notes - in
effect, loans - to provide rations and equipment for Washington's army at
Valley Forge. These notes were secured by bills of exchange drawn
against our envoys abroad, but it was never seriously intended that they
should be presented for payment. The bank was a tremendous success in
securing the money necessary to carry out its patriotic purposes, and
was practically the first bank of issue in this country.

With the actual establishment of the United States and the adoption of

Online LibraryVariousCurrent History, Vol. VIII, No. 3, June 1918 → online text (page 7 of 30)