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VOLUME I. PRE-WAR YEARS, I C) 1 3- 1 <) T J 
VOLUME II. AMERICA AT WAR, 1 9 1 7-1918 




9 * 7 





COPYRIUttl. tO.iO, t*V f''Rl''?t Kt' t , VA. 

ClirS Rl'SI- KVl-"T I < S*l"Utf>JV<. f$U f?t(I(f 

IN rn* WAA. 


J., E., and P. 



DEMOCRACY is a vehicle so lumbering that a part of the world 
has come to doubt whether It is a dependable carrier for a national 
interest. As a consequence of its basic principle a little less than 
half of any democratic nation is commonly engaged in partisan 
struggle to prevent the little more than half, which constitutes the 
majority of the moment, from achieving a purpose. Yet the be- 
havior of the United States in its war years, 1917-18, should be 
a reminder to Americans and a warning to the world that when 
emotion whittles the minority down to nearly nothing and makes 
citizens agree among themselves, even a democracy may act with 
speed,, directness, efficiency, and weight. One kind of victory, at 
least, was blocked by the American intervention in the World 
War; and for once in history a great nation went whole-heartedly 
to combat, shared in the labor to defeat an enemy, and marched 
its men, home carrying no plunder and asking none. 

The war years of the United States are a necessary chapter in 
the history of the World War. They constitute an even more 
important chapter in the history of democracy in action. 


Margaret Byrne Professor t>f I htitfd States 

History in the tJnwfrsily of Cit 
Dcc&nbcr, 1938 



I. THE WAR OF 1917 i 



























NOVEMBER i r, 1918 334 


ST. MIHIEL, SEPTEMBER it, 19 18 371 

THE LAST Pit ASK, SEPTEMBER ;>6- -NOVEMBER ri, 1918 388 


SEPTEMBER a(i -NOVEMBER ,11, 1918 393 


I. THE WAR OF 1917 

jfjL BRIEF period of twenty hectic months was long enough to 
cover the experiences of the American democracy as a participant 
in the War of 1917. With its mind at last made up, the United 
States entered the World War, designed its weapons, created them, 
stabilized its doctrine, forwarded its men to France, used them at 
the end of a line of communications whose three thousand miles or 
more in length connected every American household with the 
remote trenches, and delivered a military blow without which it is 
hard to believe that a German victory could have been avoided. 

The people of the United States, in these twenty months, passed 
through all the mental phases from a chainbcr-of-commercc 
'business as usual' to an avid 'work or fight;, 9 They discarded the 
reservations with which a domestic order had been built up inside 
the framework of the Constitution and revealed the driving capac- 
ity of democracy in the rare moments when democrats agree 
among themselves. They stopped their war with the enemy 
defeated; and their withdrawal affected the world as greatly as 
their entry. They saw, or their effective majority saw, nothing 
grotesque in the substitution of 'back to normalcy 9 for the exalta- 
tion of "safe for democracy.* Their retreat was as much a part of 
democracy as was the hesitation with which the United States 
watched its interests for three years before April 6, 1917, or the 
onc-mindcdncss with which it helped to win the war. 

! The story of this war must at least be three-dimensional 
The narrative of events, from which no historian may long disso- 
ciate himself, is packed with episode; and it should never be for- 
gotten that each episode depends as much upon the atmosphere 
in which it happens as upon those of its causes that run directly 

THE WAR OF 1917 

back into the past. Cross-purposes and traffic jams become in 
themselves new causes to complicate the story. 

In the second place, the institutions of the war, created for the 
purpose or expanded from existing agencies, were events when 
they emerged, each representing a crystallization of the opinion of 
the moment; but as institutions they kept on growing; and the 
description of their enlargement, their structure,, and their overlaps, 
not to mention their success or failure, gives another dimension to 
any picture of the war. 

A third dimension has to do with intangibles ideas of demo- 
cracy., of world order, of war aims, of reform to be squeezed out of 
life because of the crisis. Like the institutions of the war, these 
grew. Not the same in any two consecutive months, their impact 
affected at all times the institutions of the war, the civic experi- 
ences at the rear, and the military operations at the front. The 
American mind that looked into war in April, 1917, was not the 
mind that looked back upon it in December, 1918. Whatever the 
War of 1917 may display respecting war, it affords impressive 
exhibits illustrating the functioning of democracy^ 

The Congress, voting war on April 6, 1917, signed a blank 
check upon the future. Ignorant of American resources, of the 
need to use them, and of the mechanisms that might bring them 
into operation, it did not know the war that was and could not 
foresee the demands upon its strength.. The most effective mem- 
bers of Congress had been trained in the Progressive decade, whose 
philosophy found more social advantage to be gained through the 
restriction of combination than through the development of 
centralized and efficient authority. 

Better than the Congress or the Administration, the Allies were 
aware of the completeness of American inexperience. They knew 
their own man-power was weary and their young-man-power was 
exhausted. They knew how near they were to the limit of their 
financial resources. ^They knew what private national aims lay 
screened behind their slogan of a war of democratic governments. 
They knew that not only their objectives but perhaps their 
existence depended upon the power of the American reinforce- 


ment, and each of them knew what form it would prefer to have 
that reinforcement take. When Congress passed the war resolution, 
they hurried their War Missions out upon the Atlantic to proceed 
to Washington to welcome the United States as an associate. 
Missions these were with impressive figures at their head 
Balfour for England, Joffre and Viviani (who was mortified because 
Americans did not know how important he was) for France. 
Behind the heads of Mission limped lesser men, broken in action, 
perhaps, but mentally acute to the need, ready to explain to those 
who were at work upon the American program what war meant, 
how the United States might avoid the errors the Allies had made, 
how American democracy might co-operate so as to permit the 
Allies to win the war. 

A fortnight after the passage of the war resolution the earliest of 
the congratulatory War Missions were nearing the Atlantic ports 
of their destination. The lesser Allies followed the greater, with 
delegations whose receptions were spread into the summer weeks. 
But those of England and France alone captured the American 
imagination; and among the members of these, Joffre stole the 
show. Enthusiasm for the France whose Lafayette had been friend 
and associate of Washington could be poured without stint. Joffre, 
at the Marne, was believed to have turned the Germans back, and 
this belief was as effective as though it were entirely based on fact; 
it fully justified c une mission., plus sentimentale et exceptionnellement 
decorative^ to carry greetings. It was even more useful because en- 
thusiasm for England was not everywhere negotiable. 

lr rhe available documents do not yet reveal how fully calculated 
was the indiscretion ofjoffre, who turned American attention to an 
angle of the war that had been generally outside the picture in the 
weeks of entry. On the day of his arrival at Hampton Roads, it 
was permitted to be said that he was prepared 'to discuss the 
sending of an American expeditionary force to France.^ He pro- 
ceeded to Washington, to be the guest of the nation in the home of 
Henry White, and talked to the waiting correspondents. "He 
asked for troops when he met the President in the White House, 
suggesting in his appeal the French sense for concrete reality, the 

THE WAR OF 1917 

sense that would recognize assistance in the form of goods and cash, 
but that would know it to be real only when men and flags were 
visible in Paris. France was bled and tired, "the Nivelle drive was 
a greater failure than had been disclosed. French morale needed 
every support, and if the gaps in the French armies could not be 
filled with Americans in uniform, they could not be filled at all. 
'Let the American soldier come now/ he pleaded^ 

To the Congress, wrestling with its third week of war legislation, 
the new idea was disturbing. That an army must be organized was 
obvious; but participation with an army heavy enough to weight 
its side was not part of the first intention. It could not be floated, 
for there were not ships enough. It could not be supplied, even if 
it could be floated; for transporting a soldier was only the first step 
in a long process of provisioning him, outfitting him, and providing 
him with the heavy tonnage of war goods that could not be inter- 
rupted while he lived. Every new increment of troops to be sent to 
France would add to the permanent burden on a tonnage already 
inadequate to the minimum needs of the Allies themselves. Indeed 
JofFre did not ask for a great army at once nor had he any idea as to 
how it should cross the ocean, but he wanted troops to be seen in 

The Administration Army bill was already under consideration 
before the Allied War Missions made their appearance, and in- 
volved as much shock to established notions as Congress could 
well stand, for it was based upon a draft. Conscription was odious 
among Americans; among even those who were less emphatic than 
Speaker Clark, who declared that 'in the estimation of Missourians 
there is precious little difference between a conscript and a convict.' 

^The experience of England provided the talking point for the 
advocates of compulsory service, for England in the early years of 
war had filled the ranks with volunteers, only to learn too late the 
dire consequences of promiscuous volunteering. Worst of these 
was the injury done to war industries which must not be crippled if 
the armies were to survive. Many men were of greater use in the 
shops than in the trenches, and when their enthusiasm and 
patriotism took them to the front as volunteers, industry was dis- 


organized behind the lines, j Victory in a war like this depended 
upon the even development of all parts of the national effort. 
Government could know little enough of how to plan for a proper 
equilibrium; but the results when it selected its servants were more 
useful than when each citizen chose his own duty after emotional 
appeals made in a campaign to swell enlistments. The next dire 
consequence had to do with officer material. At least one man in 
every twenty, fifty thousand in the million, must be an officer; 
and to learn the simplest duties of the officer, so that his men 
might not be murdered through his ignorance, called for an 
aptitude at lessons that was most commonly shown in lads of 
college age, with formal education^ But these very lads rushed 
first to the colors in 1914, and so many of them were dead after two 
years of war that England lost a generation of its normal leaders, 
and was crippled immediately by a lack of material for junior 
officers. England, with an inhibition as great as that of the United 
States, had come reluctantly to the draft. J The War Department 
followed suit, and set itself to establish the principle of selective 
service in the face of a history of consistent volunteering practice. 
The Civil War draft was a device to stimulate volunteering rather 
than a means of filling ranks. War was no longer amply served 
by professional officers and patriotic volunteers; it called for the 
whole of national strength, with men at their best jobs, not those 
that they preferred.^ 

rThe Selective Service Act, as it was finally called, came into the 
two houses simultaneously and just as the English Mission reached 
American soil. It had been ready for introduction early in April, 
but the committee had to digest its novelties before they could de- 
fend it in open debate. The chairman of the Senate committee, 
Chamberlain of Oregon, was for it. His counterpart in the House 
committee, Dent of Alabama, was so sure that a draft ought not to 
be used until after an attempt to raise an army of volunteers that 
the management of the measure passed out of his hands and into 
those of Julius Kahn of California, a German-born Republican. 
The measure was under violent argument in both houses during 
the week of public entertainment of the Missions, with its purpose 

THE WAR OF 1917 

becoming more concrete as the idea of an expeditionary force 
seeped into public consciousness. The two bills, simultaneously 
discussed, passed by great majorities on the same day, April 28; 
but they were different bills, and original passage was only the 
prelude to a long struggle in conference for three weeks more. The 
size of the minorities voting No eight in the Senate, twenty- 
four in the House gives no indication of the bitterness of the 
opposition, but shows only that in the prevailing American state 
of mind the more courageous alone, or the more obstinate, were 
willing to be counted as opposing basic measures of the war. 

The principle of the draft was accepted, as unbeatable. The final 
fight turned upon the age limits for registrants, the negation of 
volunteering (apart from enlistment in Army or in National 
Guard), and the attempt of prohibition profiteers to get something 
for their reform out of the emergency. The last succeeded. The 
final bill forbade the sale of liquor in the vicinity of army camps or 
to soldiers in uniform. \ 

r The other last controversies became matters of compromise 
after conference reports had shuttled back and forth. The age 
limits within which citizens should be liable for service were 
fought throughout the whole debate. The War Department 
preferred that these should range from nineteen to twenty-five, but 
Dent declared from the beginning that he, and those who agreed 
with him, 'would never vote for a bill ... to conscript a boy nine- 
teen or twenty years of age . . . who did not have the right to vote.' 
The adjustment in conference was between the House demand that 
the ages should be twenty-one to forty so that mature citizens 
should bear their share, and the Senate preference for twenty-one 
to twenty-seven because as men pass out of their twenties their 
usefulness as private soldiers lessens rapidly. It was not proposed 
to use the physically unfit, or certain classes of constitutional 
objectors, or to call at once men with heavy domestic responsibili- 
ties. All great armies have been built on boys, and professional 
opinion regarded boys of nineteen as mature enough. The conflict 
of principle and opinion finally came to rest in a compromise at 
twenty-one to thirty. 


The issue of volunteering threatened to wreck the whole debate 
and increased in intensity when it appeared that some troops at 
least would go at once. It was a sentimental issue, congressmen 
believing that their constituents would resent conscription. It 
was hardly justified by actual failure to accept the volunteer, for 
the armed forces, Army, National Guard, Navy, and Marine 
Corps, were all actively recruiting, and could absorb nearly a 
million men before they reached their maximum authorized limits. 
New recruits were being enlisted and trained in existing units more 
quickly than they could be turned into soldiers in any training 
camps; and this sort of volunteering was not discontinued until the 
Selective Service Act was passed and put into operation. Volun- 
teers for officer duty were welcomed, too. Under the National 
Defense Act of 1916 training camps for junior officers were ar- 
ranged as soon as war became a fact. On May 15 some fourteen of 
these were opened to give an intensive three months' course to the 
second lieutenants, who would in turn train the first half-million 
drafted men. But the issue between the houses was more than a 
conflict between sentiment and efficiency; it contained its measure 
of politics, and in this it revolved around the ambition of Theodore 
Roosevelt to lead an armv^ * 

Roosevelt, devoted to a sound Army as he had shown himself to 
be as President, died unconvinced that a volunteer army raised 
around his name would have been inconsistent with either effi- 
ciency or the principle of selective service. He supported the draft, 
always believing in it; but having raised one volunteer unit in the 
war with Spain he wanted now to raise another. 4Se was afraid the 
United States would fight a war with no troops at all upon the line. 
There were plenty of officers ready to accompany him, anywhere, 
on any basis. His name would undoubtedly have attracted private 
enlistments in sufficient number., He allowed a preliminary en- 
rollment to be made; and on AprTl 10, the 'most eminent and able, 
if not most bitter critic' of the President (Longworth's words), he 
called at the White House to urge the acceptance of his force. 
Said Gardner in the House: 'The people want the Stars and 
Stripes waving over those trenches . . . [and] if Roosevelt or any 

8 THE WAR OF 1917 

other Pied Piper can whistle 25,000 fanatics after him, for Heaven's 
sake give him the chance. He may whistle his division into the 
trenches half trained, of course; but I will wager that they will 
make up in nerve what they lack in drill. Roosevelt is no fool.' 
In his enthusiasm Roosevelt, who had already before 1914 
described himself as 'a stout, rheumatic, elderly gentleman,' 
brushed aside the objection that he was fifty-eight years old and 
without the training of a general. He did not advertise the fact that 
he was blind of one eye (lost through a boxing accident while 
President) and intermittently slowed down "due to the poisoning 
of his system by the equatorial fever that he had incurred while on 
his Brazilian trip.' His chosen biographer, Joseph Bucklin Bishop, 
made these matters public when he died, in Theodore Roosevelt and 
his Time (1920). Roosevelt approached his old enemy with a 
packet of letters from Europe, welcoming him as a companion in 
arms. Clemenceau volunteered advice that he should be allowed 
to come. 

But for once a war of the United States was being fought as war, 
with plans drafted by professional soldiers (of whom the best owed 
their chance for training largely to Roosevelt) . The evils resulting 
from the use of political commanders had been sufficiently dis- 
played in the Civil War. The casualties due to ignorance of un- 
trained line officers had been a scandal during mobilization for the 
war with Spain, and quite as scandalous, though less well ad- 
vertised, in the war of 1861. The War Department had decided to 
resist the admission of young men to commissions until they had 
been selected after stern competition in the officers' camps.; These 
schools gave little enough of training, but it was better than no- 
thing, and vastly superior to any previous American practice. 
The President supported the Department in this determination and 
fought for freedom to avoid the necessity to accept any but trained 
commanders at the top. 

The friends of Roosevelt held out in the Senate through a long 
debate as they sought to make the acceptance of volunteer units 
mandatory upon the President. Rooseveltians supported it, and 
Republicans, and some who opposed any draft, and a few who 


were ready to press for anything they were sure the Administration 
did not want. Three weeks after the separate bills passed their 
respective houses the conferees were still in deadlock. c The delay 
in Congress is becoming a scandal/ wrote one of the Washington 
correspondents, as this earliest controversy over war policy reached 
its crisis. Other measures, nearly as necessary as the army act, 
were held back until the friends of Theodore Roosevelt surrendered. 

By the terms of the surrender that freed the Army from the 
menace of political commanders, the President was left at liberty 
to accept volunteer units or to refrain from accepting them. The 
President signed the Selective Service Act on May 18, 1917, re- 
leasing at once a statement settling the matter: 'It would be very 

agreeable to me to pay Mr. Roosevelt this compliment But 

this is not the time or the occasion for compliment or for any action 
not calculated to contribute to the immediate success of the war.' 
He announced, as well, that on June 5 men over twenty-one but not 
yet thirty-one would be called upon to register near their homes 
and that c at as early a date as practicable' a force of Regulars 
would be sent to France under the command of Major-General 
John J. Pershing. 

Pershing had surmised that something of this sort was about 
to happen. On May 3, he had received from his father-in-law 
Warren, stalwart Republican Senator from Wyoming, a cryptic 
telegram: c Wire me today whether and how much you speak, read, 
and write French.' He wrote this hint into the opening paragraph 
of his My Experiences in the World War (1931). Roosevelt, who had 
made My Experiences possible when he promoted Pershing from 
captain to brigadier-general in 1906, accepted the adverse decision. 
He disbanded his division on May 20, published his correspond- 
ence with the War Department in the Metropolitan in August, and 
plunged into an oratorical co-operation with the war that was 
interrupted only by sickness and ended only by his death. 

Even the announcement that an American expeditionary force 
was to be sent to France did not convince the Government or the 
people that the American reinforcement was to be military in 
character. The ocean tonnage at the disposition of the United 

io THE WAR OF 1917 

States was too small to make this possible. The hope of Joffre for 
a fighting army was a dream, on whose coming true no military 
realist could rely. The new commander, who likewise had no right 
to dream that his command was for the first time in American 
experience to be free from political hobbies, was already quietly 
back in Washington and at work upon the details of organization. 
Common opinion held it that the force was to be sent to France 
chiefly for the purpose of parade, yet the orders being formulated 
treated it as though it might become an army. The War Depart- 
ment set to work to draft and train a National Army. Congress 
plunged into other business. And the Administration kept to its 
course of preparing a program that should be largely material and 

~ Only one measure of consequence for the conduct of the war 
reached the White House earlier than the Selective Service Act. 
This was a loan act, passed without effort, which was signed on 
April 24. 

The financial basis of the war had been under discussion during 
the weeks preceding the declaration, for, however the United 
States should participate, it was certain that the cost of American 
effort would be great, and that the supply of materials to the 
Allies must not be stopped. The public knew less well than the 
Treasury how nearly the Allies had reached the end of their own 
financial resources. They had bought supplies in the United 
States since 1914; paying in credit and gold, commandeering 
American securities held by their citizens and sending them to the 
United States for sale to pay the bills, and borrowing in loans 
floated in America by the Morgans and their associates. The 
Missions arriving in Washington in April spoke their congratula- 
tions in public, and in private asked for cash. They would have 
been glad to be placed on regular monthly allowances suited to 
their own statements of their needs. 

Wilson recognized the need for 'adequate credits' in his war 
message and the Very practical duty ... of supplying the nations 
already at war with Germany 3 with the things they could use. But 
when Professor E. R. A. Seligman of Columbia, perhaps the most 


distinguished of the financial economists, suggested that the war 
would cost at least ten billion dollars in its first year, he was 
'greeted with a smile of incredulity. 3 The Treasury was accus- 
tomed to a scale of operations far below this. During the three 
preceding fiscal years, 191416, it had averaged 737 millions in 
receipts and 718 millions in disbursements. It was hard driven to 
find sufficient revenue to enable it to avoid deficit finance. War 
had interfered with the flow of trade and with the revenue derived 
from trade through the tariff. Only the new income tax, increasing 
in productivity since its first assessment against incomes of 1913, 
had enabled McAdoo to meet Federal obligations out of taxation. 
In the next three fiscal years, 1918-20, expenditures were to be 
stepped up to an average of 12, 538 millions, against taxes of 41 per 
cent of the amount, 5 1 70 millions a year. The readiness of the 
United States to cast its fortunes by the side of those of the Allies 
was not accompanied by any realization of the cost in dollars or by 
any plan to meet the deficit. 

Economists had studied the financial aspect of war as they 
watched it after 1914. In England there had been made the 
most vigorous effort to pay a large fraction of its cost out of current 
taxes. On either side of the Western Front the Central Powers as 
well as their enemies had preferred to rely upon loans rather than 
upon taxes; for the latter would mean immediate burdens upon 
their citizenry, while it might be hoped, as each side hoped, that 
the defeated adversary could be compelled to assume and pay the 
loans as war indemnity. And the cynical observed that, in the event 
of defeat, repudiation would not add greatly to the other unavoid- 
able burdens. 

Discussion of the ways and means of war broke out in the 
United States not as a part of war preparation, but as one of the 
fighting fronts of the opponents of American entry. It was Social- 
ist doctrine, in which most pacifists and many Progressives con- 
curred, that wars were fomented by capitalists for their own ad- 
vantage; and that one of the ways of dissuading capitalists from 
this was to make war costly. As the new Congress convened for its 
war session, the American Committee on War Finance, self- 

12 THE WAR OF 1917 

nominated, advertised its demand for a 'pay-as-you-go' war that 
should have the advantage of throwing the cost upon the wealthy 
who provoked it, of redistributing some of their too-large accumu- 
lations, and of freeing posterity from an enduring burden of taxa- 
tion. The connotations implicit to this found acceptance among 
many to whom the very word Socialist was anathema; even among 
many in the Government. I hope,' said the President on April 2, 
that the necessary credits may be sustained, c so far as they can 
equitably be sustained by the present generation, by well-con- 
ceived taxation.' The demand that the whole cost of the war be 
borne out of current taxes was impracticable with all, sincere 
with some, and a convenient method of obstruction with a few. 
The fiscal proposals brought in at once were based on an assump- 
tion that about one dollar out of three could be raised as spent. 
The Secretary of the Treasury says, in Crowded Years: The Reminis- 
cences of William G. McAdoo (1931), that he gave up the idea of tax- 
ing half the costs out of the people because he thought 'such a scale 
would be excessive, and perhaps destructive ... of the capitalized 
energy which keeps the wheels turning. 3 During the Civil War the 
proportion was approximately one to five. 

Three aspects of immediate finance, as distinguished from 
permanent policy, confronted Treasury officials and the con- 
gressional leaders before Kitchin opened the brief debate on an 
emergency loan measure on April 13. Perhaps first in importance 
of these was the requirement of the Allies for funds. They were 
about drained dry. They did not expect, much as they might 
desire, immediate military aid; but the United States was an un- 
touched storehouse of supplies if only the Government would con- 
tribute the financial key. Second was the certainty that Treasury 
requirements would run ahead of tax collections under existing 
laws. The Committee on Ways and Means was busy with proposals 
for a new revenue law, written in the language of war necessity, but 
until this should be worked through (six months it took), there 
could be no revenues except those to be collected from the opera- 
tion of pre-war laws. No one yet knows how far commitments by 
the Government ran in advance of appropriations, but everyone 


then knew that tax receipts would be both insufficient and slow. 
The Treasury must have authority for short-term borrowing in 
anticipation of taxes and the proceeds of bond sales. 

And third, there were the needs of the immediate future in excess 
of anything that taxes could be speeded up to provide. However 
the war was to be financed after new legislation should become 
productive, it would entail spending of great sums in excess of 
. Bonds were to be authorized; and with a sharp recollection 
tf\ of the obloquy incurred by Cleveland because of his marketing of 
^-bonds through bankers 5 syndicates, both Administration and 
t Congress were aware that these bonds must be placed through the 

mechanics of popular subscription. 

^ With a unanimity unscratched by any single adverse vote in 
<T\ either Senate or House, the loan act was passed in less than two 
weeks from the date of its introduction. The House accepted it, 
upon report from the Committee on Ways and Means, on April 14, 
N the day after the debate opened. The Senate passed it three days 
o later. The slight matters of difference between Senate and House 
were ironed out in time for conference reports to be accepted 
\ April 23, two days after the British Mission rolled into the United 
^States. And the President signed it April 24. The very next morn- 
fO ing Baron Cunliffe of Headley, Governor of the Bank of England 
L and one of Balfour's associates on the Mission, was at the Treasury 
for the signing of British notes to the amount of 200 million dollars 
against the credits voted in the bill. And shortly after him came 
f^Jusserand, borrowing for France, but so piqued that he declined 
> the proffer of the pen with which his check was signed. He re- 
^ ceived but 100 millions at the start and, like the Italian Ambassa- 
" dor, thought that, all being first-class powers, c all should be treated 
* 'Mr. McAdoo is the most active and enterprising member 

of the Cabinet, 3 the British Ambassador, Spring Rice, wrote to 
^Balfour: 'It is he who distributes proceeds in the forms of loans to 
the Allies.* The American reinforcement was in operation. 

The loan act authorized the addition of five billions to the debt 
of the United States, in the form of bonds drawing three and one- 
half per cent interest. Two of the five billions were earmarked for 

14 THE WAR OF 1917 

the use of the Treasury, for the costs of war. Three billions were 
pledged for loans at the same rate to nations 'engaged in war with 
the enemies of the United States/ The comments made upon the 
proposal for financial support to the Allies did not challenge the 
underlying idea. It was accepted that this was to be the nature of 
American aid. The Supreme need of our own Nation and of the 
nations with which we are co-operating/ declared the President 
while the bill was in the Senate, 'is an abundance of supplies. 9 
The critics of the bill expected to vote for it, and did; but they 
wanted to make sure that the loans would be offered directly to 
the public, without the intervention of bankers or bankers' per- 
centages, and that the advances would be made only to the 
associated enemies of Germany. To associated enemies, not to 
Allies of the United States; for it was made clear that the United 
States would not attach itself to that Pact of London whereby 
Britain, France, and Russia, in the first instance, pledged them- 
selves to common war and common peace. Balfour was explicit in 
assuring the United States that his country had no desire to entrap 
the United States or to detach it from its traditional policy of 
avoiding alliances. There came into being a clumsy title for the 
enemies of Germany the Allied and Associated Powers. When 
inquirers invited Kitchin to explain the nature of the security that 
could be pledged to the United States for the repayment of the 
loans, he replied simply: 'We have to trust the Governments to 
whom we loan the money,' and his answer was accepted as 
sufficient. Administration, Congress, and the people adhered to 
the policy of loans throughout the war. The upper limit was raised 
as later loan acts authorized more borrowing. Nearly all of the 
ten billions thus made available was before the Armistice con- 
verted into obligations of the enemies of Germany. 

The provision permitting the Treasury to sell short-term notes as 
needed, with an upper limit of two billions to be outstanding at any 
time, was sometimes erroneously interpreted as making the loan 
act one of seven billions rather than of five. This was, however, 
only a device for flexibility in finance, vital in its effectiveness and 
less well understood than its importance called for. There was no 


need for paper money, and no legacy of greenbacks was left for ad- 
justment after the war. As the commitments of the Government 
reached the moment of necessary payment, the Treasury, under 
this and later acts, thirty-one times before the Armistice, sold its 
certificates of debt, to run for not more than twelve months. It 
sold them to the banks which took their quotas automatically, 
knowing that the funds in payment would stay on their books to 
the credit of the United States until the cash was actually dis- 
bursed. As the inflow of receipts, whether from taxes or loans, 
built up the Government deposits, certificates were retired. What- 
ever inflation the war produced was an inflation of credit, less 
visible than if in paper money, but quite as real. When the time 
came to buy back the certificates out of the proceeds of the great 
war loans, it was only the form of the obligation that was changed, 
A large share of the money for the purchase of war bonds was 
raised by buyers who borrowed from the banks up to the face 
value of the bonds, with the bonds as collateral and the interest 
rate the same. But as the financial burden of the war was spread, 
much of what began as Government debt to the banks was con- 
verted into private debts to the same banks, secured by the evi- 
dences of public credit as collateral. How far this constituted in 
fact a money inflation tending to raise the level of prices is a matter 
for nice measurement. 

The requirement that the bonds, when sold, should be disposed 
of by popular subscription taxed the inventiveness of the Treasury, 
and gave another opening to its ingenious and driving Secretary. 
The loan act left to his discretion the dates of issues, and the 
amounts to be called for at each loan. He consulted banking 
opinion as to the capacity of the people to absorb the bonds. 
Every adviser thought it impracticable to get as much as three 
billions upon a single call; and McAdoo quotes Morgan as believ- 
ing one billion to be enough, and one dollar in five enough of the 
total cost to be borne by taxes. It was guesswork at best. The 
Spanish War had not caused a ripple in financial circles. The 
Civil War, a desperate business, had baffled Chase until he dis- 
covered Jay Cooke and paid him well. McAdoo, with a keen 

16 THE WAR OF 1917 

sense for slogans and before he revealed its dimensions, named his 
loan The Liberty Loan of 1917 . . . because the money will be 
spent to the last dollar in the fight which democracy is waging 
against autocracy. 3 

On May 2 the Secretary of the Treasury announced that two 
billions would be required, to be subscribed through the gratuitous 
services of financial institutions, to be paid for by subscribers in 
installments, and to run from June 15 for thirty years, though 
callable sooner. He announced as well that he would himself go on 
the stump, beginning with Chicago, to explain in the Middle West 
the need for the money, connecting it always with the purpose of 
the war. As he did this, says Mary Synon (the author of what 
might have been his campaign biography in 1920), c to hundreds of 
little communities . . . the tall, thin, hollow-cheeked, blazing-eyed 
man on the rear platform . . . symbolized the Government of the 
United States. 9 

A director of publicity in the Treasury represented the Secretary 
at the head of the war loan organization; and beneath him the 
Federal Reserve Banks adapted their structure to the new sort of 
business. The paper work passed through the banks. Local com- 
mittees to promote sales were instituted in every region and local 
talent provided the speaking at public meetings except upon the 
occasions when McAdoo, or another with a known name, was 
passing that way. The stock and bond men served willingly as 
private solicitors, with the energetic assistance of local volunteers. 
Subscribers wore on their lapels the buttons indicating that they 
had done their part. Newspapers gave space to report the progress 
of the campaign, with regional rivalries built up by quotas allotted, 
and with daily diagrams showing progress in meeting quotas. 

Bankers had told McAdoo that his task would be made difficult 
because not over 350,000 Americans were in the habit of investing 
in bonds. He and his coadjutors, however, when the books of the 
first loan were closed on June 15, had persuaded more than four 
million subscribers to offer to take 3035 million dollars' worth of 
Liberty Bonds. The doctrine of the salesmen, reiterating the 
phrases and sentiments of Wilson and his Secretary, permeated 


every backwoods of the United States. Participators in the work 
acquired the interest that came from participation and responsi- 
bility. The citizen who had supported the war when it was voted, 
without always knowing why, began to have a rationalization of it 
satisfactory to himself as the loan drive brought it home. And the 
popular War Message and the Facts Behind It, issued and annotated 
by the Committee on Public Information, was in circulation as a 
reference text. Before it had gone far, the President reinforced its 
argument when he spoke at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial 
Day; and colloquies in the Senate bore a warning to obstruction- 
ists and critics. 

Not all the orators on Memorial Day were as confident or as 
emphatic as the President. The junior Senator from Ohio, 
Harding, allowed himself to tell an audience in Columbus that he 
regarded the Liberty Loan campaign as 'hysterical and unseemly.' 
James Hamilton Lewis, Senator from Illinois, descended upon 
him for partisanry when the report of the address reached Wash- 
ington. James A. Reed of Missouri, far from unswerving as a 
follower of Wilson, belabored him with sarcasm. And Harding, 
outmatched in forensics, slipped out of the discussion, to the final 
words of Reed taunting him with ambition c to preside as Chief 
Executive. 3 

The day before the drive was ended, on Flag Day, June 14, the 
President spoke again, at the foot of the Washington Monument in 
a driving rain. Pershing was received in Paris that day, after a 
brief pause in London. Root was in Petrograd, where Russia 
had a few days before declared against annexations and indemni- 
ties. Northcliffe was in Washington, directing a permanent British 
War Mission there. And Wilson explained again the aims of the 
United States. He drove farther in the wedge between the German 
people and their Government. He set another wedge among the 
Central Allies by describing Austria-Hungary as the dupe of 
Germany. House had urged him to clarify the issues in the absence 
of 'intelligent or co-ordinate direction of Allied policy 5 ; and Wilson 
responded so effectively that Creel, now his publicity manager, 
could dispose of 6,813,340 copies of the address in the United 

i8 THE WAR OF 1917 

States. The President avoided statements to which the Associates 
of the United States might object (as he had avoided discussing 
war aims with the Missions lest argument defer victory), and 
directed the American effort against 'the military masters' of 
Germany: e if they succeed, America will fall within the menace. 
We and all the rest of the world must remain armed . . . if they fail, 
the world may unite for peace and Germany may be of the union.' 
The subscription to the Liberty Loan closed a first phase of the War 
of 1917. 


JORD DEVONPORT, whose title gilded a successful tea merchant, 
set up an office as British food controller in the Ministry of Lloyd 
George in December, 1916. He was engaged in the task of adjust- 
ing public need to scant supply of food during the months through 
which the United States prepared its mind for war. England was 
slower in the regimentation of its citizens than the Central Powers 
had been. Yet the necessity to see that all be fed, and that visible 
supply be rationed fairly, grew with the war. No country could 
escape it. Lloyd George urged it in vain until as Prime Minister 
he was in a position to have his way. The fact that modern war 
and regimentation go hand in hand impressed itself slowly upon 
the United States, but not too slowly for it to receive consideration 
while the preparedness measures hung in Congress in the summer 
of 1916. 

War had become a national effort in which no citizen was too 
unimportant to have a part. Success was a matter of armed forces, 
to direct which there was adequate professional skill in every 
country. It takes training and experience to make a soldier, but 
the raw material is everywhere as extensive as manhood, and there 
are more potential marshals in every army than there are batons 
to be distributed. Success was a matter, too, of material supplies, 
in which the combatants differed widely and of which none had 
enough. But success was, even more, a matter and here the 
World War provided new tests of human adaptability of the 
ingenuity and effectiveness with which resources of men and things 
were conserved, rationed, and delivered against the enemy. This 
process was civilian at one end and military at the other. In 1914, 
in neither civil nor military life, were there many men who were 


competent to plan and administer the process. As the United 
States watched the warring nations experiment with conservation 
and procurement, those who knew what was happening could 
appreciate how completely the success of American performance 
would depend upon American handling of similar experiments. 

The Council of National Defense emerged among the prepared- 
ness measures of 1916 as a war agency to bridge the gap between 
what the armies needed and what the civilians possessed. Some 
of its powers had been anticipated in clauses of the National 
Defense Act which enlarged the discretion of the President in 
matters of procurement. He was authorized to commandeer 
plants in the national interest and to create an industrial mobiliza- 
tion board. The Council was designed to be a latent arm of the 
Government, and while there was no war there was no pressure to 
hurry its activities. There was, indeed, no one who could hurry 
them until the President was ready; and he was slow to fight. 
A modest sum of $200,000 was appropriated, and the Council 
was empowered 'to supervise and direct investigations and make 
recommendations to the President and the heads of executive 
departments ... for the co-ordination of industries and resources 
for the national security and welfare. 5 The Council, embracing 
six members of the Cabinet, organized formally in the autumn of 
1916, named its operating agent which was described in the law 
as its Advisory Commission, and met with the Commission a few 
times to discuss procedure. But neither Council nor Advisory 
Commission set to work upon war plans until a week after the 
dismissal of von BernstorfF. In the eight weeks thereafter, until 
war became a fact, the civilian specialists of the Advisory Commis- 
sion heard much of what they must learn to do and of what they 
could do only at their peril. 

Regimentation by the Federal Government was a novelty that 
must be based upon principles hostile to the American trend. For 
a generation the best political thought of the United States had 
been devising means to give fuller effect to the prohibition of 
'conspiracies in restraint of trade. 3 Regimentation would reverse 
much of this policy as the citizen should be called upon to co- 


operate, not compete, and to accept the decisions of bureaucracy 
in place of individual free choice. It could not be foreseen how 
readily Americans would adopt the principle of selective service 
in the field of military duty, or how completely their approval of 
the war brought with it a desire to be told how best to be of use. 
Not foreknowing the answers that were apparent only after the 
Selective Service Act had been passed and the Liberty Loan had 
been absorbed, the Advisory Commission faced a war, aware that 
controls must be set up along every walk of life, and that these con- 
trols would be unworkable if they were not welcomed by so many 
of their victims that the minorities could be ignored. It was quite 
another matter to devise controls that would produce the ends 

Hard as it was to chart a course, it was just as hard to fit the 
existing frame of government into its requirements; to make the 
Commission supplement, not block, the military effort; to avoid 
the jealousies of professional soldiers certain that they knew all 
there was to know about war. Civilians had to blunder because 
of their ignorance of simple military fundamentals. Military men, 
competent and devoted as soldiers, were rarely possessed of the 
training or imagination to enable them to organize and manage 
production in the field of manufacture. They were hampered, too, 
by snarls of the red tape of peace time and by that fear of mistakes 
that keeps junior officers silent in the presence of their seniors. 
It was only Theodore Roosevelt, a temporary colonel with no 
military future, who could engineer the 'round robin' in the 
trenches before Santiago; regular officers knew its need but dare 
not be insubordinate. 

In bridging the gap between civil production and military 
procurement, there was no established competence. The pick of 
the military men could not be spared to learn a new trade. As 
in the other countries at war, so now in the United States, business 
and professional men must be detached from their jobs and con- 
verted into public servants in an unfamiliar field. 

The seven specialists of the Advisory Commission *each of 
whom shall have some special knowledge,' said the law opened 


their minds to the task. They learned its dimensions, realized 
the thin legal foundation upon which they must operate, and 
experienced the reluctance with which military opinion accepted 
civilian intrusion. They were hampered, also, by lack of funds 
and by the unreadiness of the Administration to permit them 
to make definite commitments until war had been declared. For 
two months they made tentative arrangements, waiting for the 
declaration to give them definition. They waited even longer 
before the departments had money with which to do the things 
they recommended. Still longer they waited for Congress to ad- 
just law to necessity and to empower the Government to break 
away from conventional methods. Daniel Willard, president of 
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was elected chairman of the 
Commission. Walter S. Gifford, of the American Telephone and 
Telegraph Company, as its director, opened and organized its 
temporary offices in the Munsey Building. Grosvenor B. Clarkson, 
who was to turn historian in his Industrial America and the World 
War: The Strategy Behind the Lines, iQij-iQig (1923), was installed 
as secretary. 

Even before the Advisory Commission decided to set up and to 
function through as many grand committees as it had members, 
it recognized the dependence of any military program upon rail- 
way transport. Willard was armed with knowledge and at his own 
suggestion was set to work. The Adamson Act was in the courts, 
with both roads and men exasperated. And even if the hazard of 
a strike during mobilization should be avoided, there remained 
the question of the capacity of the railroad net to bear its load. 

Operating in legalized mandatory competition, the American 
railroads were uneven in their ability to serve the peace needs of 
the United States, let alone the requirements of war. Thirty-two 
systems, no two organized alike, operated 201,000 of the 261,000 
miles of c first main track 5 in the United States, and collected 
seven-eighths of the operating revenues. They provided a steady 
market for a third of the soft coal and for even a larger share of the 
output of iron and lumber. Among them were competing lines, 
dividing without profit what was too little traffic to justify a single 


line. Regions were not evenly served with reference to area, popu- 
lation, or produce; some were over-built, some under-built. The 
rolling stock was watched jealously by parent lines lest it be ap- 
propriated by their rivals. Some of the older railroad servants 
could remember a time when gauge was not standard and when 
a road built deliberately to a gauge different from that of connect- 
ing lines in order to keep its rolling stock on its own tracks. There 
resulted yards of empty cars, kept empty by the owner when 
a neighbor line could have used them. There were trains of 
empties rolling past freight crying for a carrier. War business was 
already congesting some of the Eastern terminals, with others 
nearly bare. The two and a quarter million freight cars of the 
United States were insufficient for the cargoes war would crowd 
into them, yet were lessened in their capacity by private control, 
regional demand, and lack of plan. 

The Interstate Commerce Commission had complained of this 
inadequacy, and Congress had endeavored to correct it by grant- 
ing the President power to take over the railroads in an emergency; 
but there was no existing organization through which he could act. 
The railroads themselves, nervous before the threat, were eager 
to avoid Government ownership. In the autumn of 1915 the 
American Railway Association, at the request of Garrison, created 
a special committee to advise the Secretary of War on troop move- 
ments; for troops have a habit of needing to be moved along un- 
anticipated routes to unexpected destinations. No railroad man 
would willingly have picked Tampa, with its single-track line, as 
a suitable place for the mobilization of the force destined for Cuba 
in 1898; and the traffic mess at Tampa became a horrible example. 
After experience with the small-scale activities of Pershing's cam- 
paign in Mexico, a car-service committee was created on February 
2, 1917, three days before Pershing moved his column back into 
the United States on its own legs. The Interstate Commerce Com- 
mission was pressing on Congress for an act permitting it to pool 
and control the use of cars without reference to their ownership. 
It received this addition to its authority, May 29, 1917, but the 
emergency had already carried the railway lines several steps 
farther toward unity and system. 


Willard, by direction of the Council of National Defense, began 
in January his conferences with the officers of the American Rail- 
way Association. This was some weeks before his Committee on 
Transportation and Communication was formally authorized. 
While the Council and the Advisory Commission were still feeling 
out their theory of operation, he got action. The Railway Associa- 
tion named Fairfax Harrison, president of the Southern Railway, 
as chairman of a committee which, it was hoped, might both be 
adequate in the crisis and prove that voluntary co-operation could 
keep ahead of public control. From the Attorney- General assur- 
ances were asked and received that the members would not be 
rewarded for their effort by being prosecuted under the Sherman 
Act for illegal conspiracy. Harrison proceeded during March 
to work out the details of what became on April 1 1 the Railroads 
War Board. 

The executive officers of the railroads approved the action of the 
Association. The railroad corporations ratified it, to 'co-ordinate 
the operations of the railroads in a continental railway system in 
aid of the Government during the war.' Harrison, with the assist- 
ance of four other presidents as an executive committee, operated 
the Railroads War Board for eight months, until at the end of the 
year the President exercised his power to take over the railroads 
and substitute national administration for that of private owner- 
ship. The Board had a hand in the troop movements to more than 
thirty camps and cantonments. Each of the new cities of 40,000 or 
more had itself to be hauled into position, piece by piece, before it 
could be occupied. 

The Board co-ordinated the troop trains moving men from their 
camps to the Atlantic ports of embarkation. It assembled con- 
struction material and workmen at the camp sites and hauled an 
increasing tonnage into war plants for manufacture and out of 
them for shipment to France. It did its best against the natural 
inhibitions of the solvent railroads which stood to suffer by 
divergence of rolling stock or traffic to the lines of less successful 
rivals. Whatever the larger men of the Railroads War Board 
recommended on the basis of national advantage had to be filtered 


through the minds of others, less well-informed than they, but 
immediately responsible to stockholders and balance sheets. No 
voluntary agency could quite forget the fact that operating officers 
were bound to show the greatest possible profit to their corpora- 

But it was not the fault of the Board that war traffic jammed the 
yards at Atlantic ports, that cars ran east full and west empty, 
that Nature froze the congested terminals in December, or that 
the users of transportation complained because the service was not 
better than it was. Through the long summer of trial-and-error 
approach to a policy, the Railroads War Board was among the 
busiest of the new organizations for the advancement of the war. 
It had an advantage over other war organizations in that it pos- 
sessed a plant ready to be operated. It did not have simultaneously 
to construct and to produce. Before its internal organization was 
complete, the Advisory Commission had paralleled the Committee 
on Transportation with six other topical committees and a miscel- 
laneous group of specialized boards and bureaus. 

Quite as important to the business in hand as was the attitude 
of railway managers was the disposition of railway employees and 
of all Americans who worked for wages: c my boys,' Gompers 
called them, as he begged the Council to be patient with their 
attitude. Samuel Gompers went upon the Advisory Commission 
as ambassador for labor, and as such he was accepted even by the 
railway men who held aloof from the American Federation of 
Labor. He sat under Willard, with whom he had been in bitter 
conflict during 1916, until the latter said to Commissioner Martin, 
who kept a diary; c lf anyone had told me that my personal antago- 
nism toward Samuel Gompers would change within one week to 
ardent admiration and real affection, I would have pronounced 
that individual a fit candidate for an insane asylum.' 

The close association Gompers had had with the Democratic 
Party since 1908 (when he was peddling his anti-injunction plank), 
and the protection that party had extended to his 'boys' in the 
Clayton Act and the Adamson Act, made it easier for him to work 
with the Administration than it might otherwise have been. His 


task, and that of his Committee on Labor, was to keep labor be- 
hind the war and in agreement that though war was bad a German 
victory would be worse. As early as March 12 he had arranged and 
sat in a conference with the leaders of the Federation and the rail- 
way unions, and with them he had adopted a labor platform for 
the war. The Government recognized the principle of unioniza- 
tion and the right of labor to be protected against disastrous 
changes in the price level. In return, union men agreed that work 
should proceed, uninterrupted by basic strikes. 

After the war was over, the Department of Labor made a list 
of some six thousand strikes occurring during the nineteen months 
of hostilities; most of the interruptions were brief, many were the 
outgrowth of no more than misunderstandings arising from 
emergency changes, and nearly all were ended on terms acceptable 
to labor. The Government increasingly became the ultimate 
customer. It could and did press its contractors to settle with their 
men, and was willing to allow a price out of which labor could be 
paid. As the draft came into operation, the principle of deferred 
classification protected workmen who were indispensable on their 
jobs. Pay, allotments from pay, family allowances, and insurance 
took care of the dependents of those who were called to the colors. 
The American Federation, inspired by Gompers, made it its 
business to fight labor radicals and to meet propaganda with 
counter-propaganda. And in every Government venture in war 
production the labor side of the business was managed by labor 
men, drawn into the Government, but not forgetting that the 
crushing of labor was not to be a consequence of the war. 

Out of the experiences of 1917 there emerged a more formal 
arrangement of labor relationships in 1918. But through the 
formative months, as policies were maturing, the Advisory Com- 
mission kept labor willingly in step with the great body of citizens. 

Deliberating and resolving through March into April and May, 
the agencies of the Commission were commonly well ahead of 
enabling laws. Their full powers were not released for war until 
actual war was declared. The Congress had the unfinished duties 
of the preceding session to perform before it could give its undivided 


attention to new business, and the loan and the draft took pre- 
cedence of all else that was new. The various boards concentrated 
their efforts on matters that could be reached without law, upon 
the shaping of the American mind, and upon the suggestion of 
tasks for Congress. 

In its first Annual Report., the Council of National Defense covered 
its activities through June 30, 1917, listing the long series of com- 
mittees, boards, and sections through which it began its task 'of 
mobilizing the national resources.' It had 408 persons on its staff, 
only 1 68 of whom drew compensation. Two of its seven major 
committees were largely educational, as were many of its special 
groups. Godfrey and Martin, of the Commission, presided over 
such activities, working chiefly in the field of national morale. 
The Commercial Economy Board, the Food Committee, and the 
State network operated in the same field, partly because that was 
the field in which they could operate best, partly because the 
controls they advocated must await the assent of Congress. 

Godfrey's Committee on Engineering and Education made it 
its business to act as liaison between the Government and the 
professional specialists. Beside it stood the National Research 
Council, created in 1916 by the National Academy of Sciences on 
request of the President, to put scientific research at the disposal 
of the Government. The National Research Council moved its 
offices into the Munsey Building, next to the Advisory Commission, 
and at its beck a procession of chemists, physicists, and engineers 
moved out of their college jobs; sometimes into uniform, some- 
times into laboratories, but always into war duty. The Committee 
on Education reached out toward the colleges and universities 
to bring them into the line of co-operation, but found them already 
so much better organized than it was itself, and so eager to work, 
that this remained perhaps the least significant of the subdivisions 
of the Advisory Commission. Even so non-military a group as the 
historians organized on its own initiative, borrowed a Washington 
office, installed a National Board for Historical Service, and asked 
for work to do. Its members helped to shape Creel's course. 

Medical preparedness came within the scope of the Committee 


on Medicine and Sanitation. Doctor Franklin H. Martin, chair- 
man of this committee, was a Chicago surgeon, something of 
a medical statesman with a gift for organization already revealed 
and so successful in his practice that when the press thought at all 
of his politics it assumed, erroneously, that he must be a Repub- 
lican. He soon became a colonel in the Medical Corps and directed 
his professional efforts into the General Medical Board, created as 
an official body to correlate the work of the medical divisions of 
Army and Navy, the Public Health Service, and the body of medi- 
cal practitioners. He remained an active member of the Advisory 
Commission, but his committee was overshadowed by his board. 
There was an abundance of medical work to be done sanitation 
for the civilian population, procurement of medical officers for the 
service, maintenance of medical education in spite of war. He 
found the Surgeon-General of the Army, Major-General William 
C. Gorgas, ready and eager for co-operation, and his professional 
associates were already so well organized that his committee only 
had to point the way. 

Throughout its career the Council of National Defense had no 
interest in administering the services that it conceived. It sought 
to launch them, to see that someone was attending to them, and 
to turn to the next job not yet being done. It was a civilian parallel 
to the military general staff except that it gladly abandoned all 
control of its creations once they were at work. 

The Commercial Economy Board was born on March 24, in an- 
ticipation of the moment when the war program would demand 
more raw materials and supplies than could be provided; a mo- 
ment when civilian industry must economize and learn to do 
without. The word 'conservation' was applied at a later date to 
the realm within which this board sought to operate, but it was 
early recognized that war would compel a curtailment of many 
peace activities, an abandonment of others, and a conversion of 
non-essential branches of production to the novel requirements of 
war. Arch Wilkinson Shaw of Chicago, an enthusiast for office 
'system' as well as a publisher, was enlisted for this work, 'to guide 
and co-operate with business men in this planning and in making 


the necessary readjustments. 3 The aim of the Commercial Eco- 
nomy Board was to draw a line which might separate essential from 
non-essential activity. The line once found and few manu- 
facturers who found themselves near it were happy in the dis- 
covery it was the business of the Board to eliminate the non- 
essential or to convert it to useful work. 

The Board began modestly with a campaign to stop the waste 
involved in the return to bakeries after each day of some four per 
cent of their bread, unsold and stale. It went on to a survey of 
duplicating deliveries by retail stores and losses involved in the 
return and money-back privilege after retail sales. Before many 
weeks it was studying the conservation of wool and leather, and 
destroying the notion of the early weeks of war that 'business as 
usual 3 could be a guiding maxim. By its side another committee 
which the Council of National Defense did not even list in its first 
Report was applying similar philosophies of conservation in the 
field of food. 

Herbert Hoover, fresh from Belgian experience, was in Washing- 
ton to inform the Council of National Defense as it made its first 
chart in February and to insist upon the importance of food pro- 
duction and food conservation. If feeding the Allies was to be 
a major part of the American reinforcement, it was necessary to 
know what could be shipped, what would be left for consumption 
in the United States, and what could be done to stimulate produc- 
tion. Hoover returned to Belgium in March to transfer the Com- 
mission for Relief in Belgium to the control of neutrals, and he 
declared from London in April that c the foremost duty of America 
toward the Allies in this war is to see that they are supplied with 
food.' The Council of National Defense had already resolved to 
set up a food committee, inviting him to be its director. Back in 
Washington in May, Hoover became chairman of that committee. 
He appears to have been the whole committee, too, for it is not 
evident that the membership was named. Events were moving 
rapidly. All that a committee of the Council could have done was 
limited to those things that could be accomplished by exhortation. 
There was no statutory basis for either stimulation or control or for 


the moderation of gamblers' prices: and nothing was more foreign 
to the American habit than a bureau in Washington with power to 
control the farm or to restrict the breakfast table. Hoover took 
the problem directly to the White House, food was detached from 
the jurisdiction of the Council, and Congress was importuned for 
an adequate grant of powers. While the President waited for 
Congress to confer authority, he installed Hoover at the head of 
a voluntary Food Administration on May 19. 

But between those things that the Council of National Defense 
had no right to do, and those that it knew not how to do, lay a wide 
range for co-operative activity. Every one of its active committees 
projected itself throughout the United States with a maze of sub- 
committees, by region, by craft, or by theme. And as it built its 
network, the States undertook to erect, of their own authority, 
State councils of defense. Sometimes by direction of the law, some- 
times without its explicit sanction, the governors began to appoint 
committees headed with impressive names. It was uncertain what 
authority these might have, or grasp, but every community was 
bustling with citizens who desired in some way to serve. On the 
day of the declaration of war, the Council established a Section on 
Co-operation with States, as a staff agency of the director rather 
than as one of the ordinary committees. The several State coun- 
cils, already created on paper, were asking what to do and besieg- 
ing the Council with requests for tasks. 

Baker, Secretary of War and chairman of the Council of Na- 
tional Defense, recognized the benefit, moral if not concrete, to be 
derived from this co-operation. He invited all of the States to do 
what some had already done, and called their representatives to 
conference in Washington on May 2, 1917. Twelve governors 
came in person, every State sent some representative, and for two 
days officers of the Government outlined the work accomplished 
and the work ahead. Before the end of June the 'national chain 
of State councils' was complete; and each in turn penetrated with 
its committees into even the voting precincts. In these the draft 
boards had already set an example of decentralized participation 
as they arranged for the registration under the Selective Service 


Act; and the local committees soliciting subscriptions in the 
Liberty Loan Drive had not only knocked at every door, but had 
given average citizens a chance to show good- will. There were 
now added county councils of defense, city councils, speakers' 
committees, and women's committees. Those whose local stand- 
ing required it were given place and title; those who could organize 
were given work; those who could talk were given audiences; and 
all looked back to Washington, to be told just what to do and what 
to say. A Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense 
was created only a few days after the States' Co-operation Section 
to affiliate with the women's clubs and to tighten the local organi- 
zation so that recommendations as to individual conduct emanat- 
ing from Washington might with little loss of time reach the citizen 
in his home. Home-known women were to be connected with 
every step. Nationally known names were at the head of the list, 
with that of Doctor Anna Howard Shaw at the top. 

The wide publicity earned by the women who had led the suf- 
frage fight was harnessed into the Government. The list, crowned 
by Doctor Shaw, included Ida M. Tarbell, Carrie Chapman Catt, 
Maude Wetmore, and various women whose official position al- 
ready gave them leverage. On June 19 delegates from sixty of the 
women's organizations met in Washington with the Woman's 
Committee. The agreement at home with the effort in Washington 
was profound: so profound that what distrust there was acquired 
painful prominence. The anti-war minority suffered an isolation 
and unpopularity, and even danger, unknown to the objectors 
during earlier American wars. 

But at least three members of the Advisory Commission with 
their committees found immediate duties whose connection with 
matters of general morale was less intimate than their connection 
with actual services. The Committee on Raw Materials, organized 
by Bernard M. Baruch, knew from the beginning that the success 
of a procurement program would hang upon the ability of the 
United States to obtain somewhere the specific commodities not 
to be found at home. The Committee on Supplies, under Julius 
Rosenwald, knew that an army must use nearly every commodity 


that its individual members would require as civilians, and that 
someone must do its buying. Both committees knew that, of all 
supplies called for, the munitions of war came first. Howard 
E. Coffin, an automotive engineer from Detroit, was the specialist 
on the Advisory Commission charged with munitions, but as the 
dimensions of this program outgrew all power of imagination, he 
soon found himself assigned to one of its essential elements. 

'Here in America mechanical flight had been born, 5 wrote 
Benedict Crowell in his report as Director of Munitions in the 
War Department, whither he had been advanced by the end of 
1917, after service with the munitions committees. But when the 
war came, American feet had not learned to leave the ground, 
however far the American head may have been projected into the 
clouds. Few officers of the Army could fly, and flying was still 
largely an acrobatic stunt for display at county fairs. There was 
no important airplane industry in the United States. There were 
not even designs and patterns upon which such an industry could 
be erected. The aviation engineers, who were to conceive and 
produce the Liberty Motor after twenty-four days of drafting in 
June, were engaged until then working as rivals under a system in 
which each producer guarded his secrets from his competitor. 

Yet the military planners issued a call for 22,000 planes to be 
delivered for use in the twelve months after June 30, 1917; men 
who knew manufacture knew also that such a program would 
entail in fact the 'securing of the equivalent of 40,000 airplanes in 
twelve brief months.' The National Advisory Committee for 
Aeronautics, a creation of Congress in 1915, working in close 
contact with the Signal Corps of the Army, the Bureau of Stand- 
ards, and the aviation industry, recommended that the Council of 
National Defense give aid. A new quantity industry was to be set 
up; and it must be built upon automobile foundations, as nearest 
to its needs. The Council asked Coffin to undertake the task a few 
days after war was declared, and on May 16 the Aircraft Produc- 
tion Board was in existence under his chairmanship. This was 
another of the concrete things that soon slipped away from the 
control of the Council. While Coffin remained one of the members 


of the Advisory Commission the functions of his Committee on 
Munitions passed largely into other hands and under another name. 

Raw materials, supplies, and munitions were basic. And the 
Advisory Commission would have been less than American if its 
members had not believed that in approaching the problems of 
supply they should approach them in the American fashion. 
Nothing in manufacture was more American than the principle 
of interchangeable parts. This had brought out of Connecticut 
cheap watches for the million. It had spread agricultural ma- 
chinery designed for the American prairies over the plains of 
Russia and the Argentine. It had more recently made of Henry 
Ford's assembly line a symbol of a new principle in quantity 

In this spirit the Council of National Defense acted in March, 
creating the Munitions Standards Board to aid in speedy produc- 
tion by standardizing munitions specifications. There is a large 
chapter that might be written around the task later assigned to 
a National Screw Thread Commission, whose mission was to 
discover whether every screw and bolt ought to have an identity 
of its own, or whether types might be so simplified that any 
machine might be repaired by parts taken from another. So far 
as the work of the Munitions Standards Board was concerned, 
there was a better legal basis than in other of the projects of the 
Council of National Defense. The National Defense Act of 1916 
had specifically authorized the Secretary of War to provide for 
the manufacture of arms and munitions a full equipment of 
specifications, plans, gauges, jigs, and tools. He had only to decide 
what weapons he wanted, to bring these powers into life. The War 
Department had ideas of its own on the processes of manufacture, 
for as recently as January 4, 1917, Colonel Francis J. Kernan had 
presented an elaborate report on 'Government Manufacture of 
Arms 3 to which the Senate had given publicity as a public docu- 
ment. The Munitions Standards Board proposed to supplement 
and advise and to bring into the departments in Washington the 
accumulated experience of those American manufacturers who 
had for more than two years been working on Allied account. 


A Cleveland manufacturer of instruments of precision, Frank 
A. Scott, was called in as chairman of the new board, and was 
surrounded by a group of similar manufacturers, only to learn 
before the Board had begun to function that the task called for 
broad powers and wide representation which his committee 
lacked. There could not be much useful work in the standardizing 
of specifications until it could be known what was to be procured. 
There could be no knowledge of this until the fighting agencies 
had decided what they wanted. And there could be no decision 
upon the size of orders until it had been learned what were the full 
resources of the United States. The Scott board could not stand- 
ardize production unless it could persuade the fighting forces to 
accept the standards. Rapidly and inevitably the technical pro- 
blems beginning with so abstruse a matter as the pitch of screw 
threads expanded into the whole problem of war industry; and 
war industry, growing in its demands, became before long the 
whole of national industry in war time. 

A second phase of the activities of Scott began on April 9, wKen 
his establishment was renamed the General Munitions Board and 
his membership was enlarged by officers from Army and Navy ap- 
pointed to serve with it. His efforts were now directed 'toward 
co-ordinating the making of purchases by the Army and Navy, and 
assisting in the acquisition of raw materials, and establishing 
precedence of orders between the Departments of War and of the 
Navy, and between the military and industrial needs of the 
country. 3 

In the set-up that emerged in April there was such intimate 
correlation among the parts of the General Munitions Board and 
the Committees on Raw Materials and Supplies that the respective 
chairmen could not be certain where the boundaries of their 
authority began and stopped. Industry that had to do business 
with them had difficulty in discovering where final power lay. 
Each of the military departments had its own system of procure- 
ment and pride in its own departmental efficiency. The Navy, 
with an always simpler problem and incapable of revolutionary 
expansion, gave what co-operation it must to the new machinery 


of survey and control, but escaped the unsettlement to which the 
Army had to submit. The Army, due at the first estimates for 
a fivefold increase, and destined to cope with further increases 
that came more rapidly than the War Department could estimate 
them, lacked personnel and plans. 

In spite of the real advance in control following the creation of 
the General Staff of the Army, no satisfactory balance had ever 
been established between the General Staff as adviser of the 
Secretary of War and the permanent bureaus of the War Depart- 
ment through which the peace Army was actually governed, fed, 
clothed, and armed. There was a perpetual feud between the 
Chief of Staff and the Adjutant-General, and competition among 
the several supply bureaus of the Army, each of which bought for 
itself. Procurement in the Civil War was a costly mess, less hamper- 
ing than it might have been because most of the supplies of the 
Army in 1861 did not differ greatly from commodities of ordinary 
manufacture and use. The war with Spain lasted only long enough 
to indicate how complete would have been the defects of manage- 
ment had it lasted longer. Neither war presented the necessity 
to convert to military use the maximum power of the nation, or to 
create for this use elaborate machines and weapons unknown 
to peace. War manufacture in 1861-65 was peace manufacture 
expanded; in 1917-18 it was new manufacture upon an unknown 

Until the spring was well advanced there was not even agree- 
ment upon the supplies to be required. In so simple a matter as 
the uniforms of troops there was but a loose knowledge of the sizes 
that must be ordered, and the proportion of each. The tables of 
sizes, based on experience with soldiers in the old Regular Army, 
broke down. The uniform prescribed in existing regulations was 
so close-fitting that the better it fitted the less was it suited for field 
service; yet to maintain military smartness it must fit. The quar- 
termasters carried coats in eighteen sizes, breeches in thirty-two, 
and protested in vain that the adoption of a more suitable and 
comfortable uniform would reduce the number of sizes to six or 
eight. Not until the draft men began to come to camp was it 


learned that their distribution of sizes was different from expecta- 
tion. Small men were enrolled, whom the old Army would have 
rejected as undersize; the Granger States sent large men in such 
numbers as to leave many of them for a time unclad. Even had 
there been agreement as to the type of shoe best suited to field 
service there was no experience that would have brought into the 
depots the extremes of sizes necessary for the comfort of patriotic 
feet. It was equally undesirable to leave a soldier out of uniform, 
or to interrupt manufacture to make his clothes to order. 

There was no foreknowledge of the rapidity of the consumption 
of uniforms. The War Department knew how rapidly uniforms 
wore out in time of peace, but had no means of estimating their 
deterioration and loss in time of war, or the size of the reserve that 
must be maintained. When Pershing cabled back from G.H.Q. 
in France that uniforms disappeared four times as fast as in the old 
Army, the news was slow in reaching the Quartermaster-General, 
whom Army regulations made responsible for their procurement. 
Even the number of men in France from day to day was kept back 
from him, as a military secret, until his task became next to im- 

The specialized needs that the United States was unready to 
meet produced the Aircraft Production Board, an Automotive 
Transport Committee, and an Emergency Construction Com- 
mittee to advise upon the building of nearly two score new cities to 
house the recruits. All of these originated in actions of the Council 
of National Defense, as did a Storage Facilities Committee to 
house the supplies. But the procurement of the supplies themselves 
had in many cases to wait until Army boards had agreed upon the 
types of weapons to be used, and until chemists, who were in time 
to become the Chemical Warfare Service, had determined what 
gases to use for offense and for defense. The organizations created 
for purposes in connection with these supplies run to nearly five 
thousand titles in the Handbook of Economic Agencies (1919), pre- 
pared when most of them had become only historical. While they 
operated, they got in each other's way, experimented and blun- 
dered, showed all the weaknesses of emergency organizations 


manned by the willing but inexpert; but they performed an 
unavoidable service as the Army prepared for war. 

In the end, the preparation of the Army depended upon raw 
materials and their use. This was foreseen in the committees of 
the Advisory Commission as Baruch and Rosenwald mobilized 
their assistants to supply the General Munitions Board with know- 
ledge and to speed the letting of contracts for the Army and Navy. 

Bernard M. Baruch had no special fitness for the task assigned 
him except a devotion to Woodrow Wilson, a long experience in 
building his own fortune on the treacherous bottoms of Wall 
Street, and an uncanny set of hunches that had served him well 
when he bought a mine or sold its stock. He talked the language 
of business so that men who must adjust themselves to new condi- 
tions could get his meaning. And he had no respect for the red 
tape with which conventional government must ordinarily sur- 
round itself to protect the public interest. 

But his was a new kind of task for which there did not exist the 
kind of specialist called for in the statute. His Committee on Raw 
Materials utilized the machinery of the Bureau of Mines and of the 
Department of Commerce as it studied available resources in 
nitrates, rubber, tin, manganese, and those other key materials 
without which the production of munitions must stand still. He 
discovered what had been thus far only an academic fact that 
many of these lay outside the United States, and could be procured 
only through a control of trade for which no legal authority ex- 
isted. Ocean tonnage was still as scarce as though the United 
States had remained at peace. Allied merchant ships carried only 
the cargoes acceptable to Allied interests. Until Congress should 
make it legal for the Government to bargain for bottoms and to 
exercise the power to stop trade unless conducted on American 
terms, the United States program must remain secondary to that 
of the Allies in the war against Germany. 

Baruch was aware that steel and coal would shape the program, 
and that the requirements of the Government for munitions would 
immediately produce a clash between the fighting needs of the 
United States and the operating needs of the factories and rail- 


roads that must supply the people as well as equip the forces. 
He learned, if he did not know it already, that the price level 
would have much to do with the volume of possible output. In- 
dustry could not produce and sell below the rising costs of produc- 
tion. If Government conceded reasonable wage increases to 
workers, it must allow reasonable price increases to those who paid 
the wages. With the total supply of raw materials insufficient for 
all the demands (and the Government was soon demanding for its 
exclusive use more steel than all the furnaces could produce), some 
must come first, some last, and some not at all. This involved 

As the Committee on Raw Materials brought forth its organiza- 
tion, its sub-committees were manned with men drawn from the 
industries and set to serve the Government. Before the end of 
June there were co-operative committees in nearly forty basic 
industries working under Baruch. They ranged from alcohol and 
aluminum to wool and zinc. Their rosters carried key names. By 
their very completeness they raised new problems, for the Govern- 
ment must buy from the firms whose employees were the only 
persons who knew enough to advise the Government whence to 
buy. In many cases Baruch's men, working for a dollar a year and 
planning to frame their pay checks, were still carried on the pay- 
roll of the firms that lent them to him. It was, indeed, possible to 
detach some of them from their old jobs, and eventually this was 
done. But in the early stages in procurement the Government was 
always subject to embarrassment. It could be charged that such 
men as these could not serve two masters and that contracts went 
by favoritism. Yet as experience produced a completer under- 
standing it could not be dodged that the program in hand com- 
pelled the Government to reach down into every basic industry, 
to learn its resources and methods, and to devise means for secur- 
ing tmcolored advice that would be good enough to act on. 

The Committee on Supplies had at least the advantage of 
a chairman who already knew his trade. President of Sears, 
Roebuck and Company, Julius Rosenwald had felt the intense 
unpopularity with which retail trade regarded the mail-order 


house. But he knew, as perhaps no other American knew, the 
whole range of requirements of ordinary life: where to get the 
goods, where quickly, where cheaply. For nearly forty years, 
after the depression of 1873 brought the agricultural machinery 
makers into such disrepute that mail-order houses got a toe-hold, 
his firm and a few others had studied the market. The Bible might 
be lacking on the rural table, or the photograph album, or the 
county history, but the fat mail-order catalogues were almost 
certain to be there, embellished with picture and price of every- 
thing from nutmeg graters to gas engines. And shopping by lamp- 
light had become a major indoor sport after rural free deliveries 
made it easy for the Post Office to serve these firms. 

Baruch concentrated on raw materials. The finished products 
over whose purchase Rosenwald set up a supervision did not in- 
clude actual munitions of war, but ran to food, textiles, leather, 
and the multitude of little gadgets with which life operates. The 
Rosenwald committees, less numerous than those of Baruch, could 
operate promptly, for the Army needed much of many things al- 
ready under production. Orders here need not await long techni- 
cal discussions about jigs and gauges. Nevertheless these commit- 
tees were formed under conditions that brought them under the 
same suspicion that embarrassed those of Baruch. No chief of 
a sub-committee was of use to Rosenwald unless he knew his trade. 
If he knew this, he had an attachment to some one of the producers 
anxious for contracts. And this made him suspect. 

But the Army had no unified buying system, no trained per- 
sonnel to be spared to build one; and each of its bureaus had a long 
series of unimportant specifications for simple items to which it 
clung. The items had so wide a range as to call for reinforcement 
by specialists; whether in the name of Sergeant Irving Berlin to 
oversee the equipment of sheet music for 390 bands in the A.E.F., 
or in that of the unknown aide who designed the 9,224,210 brushes 
with which the Army fought the enemy and which had to be ex- 
tracted from fifty-nine factories in the United States. As costly 
as this variation in specifications was the competitive buying that 
brought different bureaus into the market for the same inadequate 


Charles Eisenman, vice-chairman of the Committee on Supplies, 
became at once the shadow of the Quartermaster-General., and 
took on so much substance that it became difficult to differentiate 
him from his chief. Under ordinary circumstances each contract 
for supply would have been required by law to be advertised, 
subjected to competitive bidding, and awarded to the lowest 
bidder. There had grown up around the Army bureaus a shoal of 
middlemen, bidding for contracts that they could not fill, and that 
they intended to sublet when and if their bids were accepted. 
These were in opposition at once to any scheme by which the 
Government should buy directly from the producer; they told their 
tale of disappointment, suggesting favoritism, to every ear that 
would listen under the dome of the Capitol Their criticism be- 
came more plausible when, on April 12, as the law allowed in the 
emergency, the Secretary of War permitted contracts to be let 
without competitive bids. Henry G. Sharpe, the Quartermaster- 
General, appreciated help and needed it. But in the rush of busi- 
ness the contractor hardly knew whether he was bound to the 
Government of the United States or to a volunteer official of no 
legal standing. At times he delivered his goods subject to adjust- 
ment of price when someone had time to get around to it. In 
theory the Committee on Supplies advised, in practice Eisenman 
determined, in the early weeks of war. 

While Congress authorized loans and enacted the draft, and its 
committees deliberated upon next steps in war policy, the Council 
of National Defense presided as best it could over a patriotic 
madhouse. Honest devotion and hard work were the redeeming 
features in a job that had no precedents. In 1919 and after, a mul- 
titude of Republican-controlled investigating committees, hopeful 
of the worst, scrutinized the performance. They uncovered igno- 
rance and error, but found few and unimportant evidences of 
malfeasance. Every day brought the announcement of new war 
organizations and more committees. The managers of fresh 
ventures, virgin to the ways of Washington, worked each as though 
he were the only bearer of responsibility. The permanent em- 
ployees of the Government, slowed to the easy stride of civil serv- 


ice. often could not understand new colleagues who did not know 
there was a time-clock. When the new enthusiasts failed, no one 
had time to eliminate the wreckage. When they succeeded, bat- 
teries of desks crowded their gorged offices, overflowed into the 
corridors, shifted into apartment houses whose occupants were 
turned into the streets between dawn and bedtime, and migrated 
soon to mushroom buildings on vacant lots. Men who had lived 
their business lives in bitter competition and worked for money 
learned to love the thrills that came when working on an unpaid 
job for the sake of the job. And the members of the Advisory Com- 
mission, responsible for much, and watching it all, fed Congress 
with so many proposals for helpful legislation that a bewildered 
Congress wondered whether they or it bore the responsibility. 

But the effective work of the civilian volunteers, like that of the 
Government itself, had its limits. These were set at the frontier 
where legal authority was necessary for further action. The morale 
work of the committees, operating among intangibles, had an im- 
portance to be guessed at but never measured. Their administra- 
tive powers, as the law stood, were unimportant. Neither they 
nor the Government could go safely far beyond the law. 

Upon the return of Herbert Hoover to the United States in May, 
it took but a fortnight for him to work out of the Food Committee 
of the Council of National Defense and to receive status as volun- 
tary Food Commissioner under the President. The powers needed 
before he could work with the sanction of the law behind him were 
asked of Congress and began to be discussed as soon as the Selec- 
tive Service Act was passed. But the discussion was long and 
tedious, continuing until the planting season had given way to the 
harvest. The first important addition to the powers of the Presi- 
dent, in the field in which Baruch, Rosenwald, Scott, and Hoover 
were operating, was attached as an amendment to a law that 
happened to be passing the Espionage Act, signed on June 15. 
By this enactment exports were brought under the control of the 

There were various reasons for the control of exports by the 
United States. One of these was the continuance, in spite of 


American entry, of the trade restrictions by which the Allies 
endeavored to conserve tonnage and to narrow the opportunity 
of the enemy to derive advantage from trade borne in Allied or 
neutral bottoms. Until the United States should assume similar 
responsibility with reference to its own exports, the Allies were 
unwilling to lift the vexatious hand which their control of the seas 
had enabled them to lay upon all American trade. 

Another of the reasons was the American need for the home-rule 
of native tonnage, for the procurement of raw materials obtainable 
only outside the United States, and for the control of the destina- 
tion of American-produced supplies. Under the new empowering 
act an Exports Council was at once created, with Vance G. Mc- 
Gormick as its agent. McCormick had been chairman of the 
Democratic National Committee in 1916; he now turned his 
organizing ability to the management of a Bureau of Export 
Licenses, with law behind him. 

The date of the Espionage Act marks the end of another of the 
chapters of American preparation. Just a month earlier Nivelle 
had been relieved of his command on the Western Front where his 
drive had broken down. Petain replaced him, and in his turn was 
succeeded as French Chief of Staff by Foch. France needed help 
more bitterly than was revealed or than has been remembered 
with victory won. On the day of the passage of the act, in the 
Picpus Cemetery in Paris, Pershing laid his wreath at the tomb of 
Lafayette. He might have uttered, had he thought of them, in his 
French that Harbord has described as 'not exactly God-given . . . 
but never misunderstood,' the famous words 'Lafayette, we are 
here.' They were, indeed, uttered in his behalf by one of his 
colonels after a parade battalion of the Sixteenth Infantry had 
marched to the same cemetery on July 4. But such words, on 
either occasion, were a reckless promise for whose fulfillment the 
means had only just begun to be devised. 


A HE keen wits of Secretary Baker were not deceived as to the 
reality that lay behind the 'physical manifestations' accompanying 
the American preparations for war. 'There is nothing great in the 
world but man,' he has said; 'and nothing great in man but mind.' 
He foresaw that 'the future historian' would find a 'mental cause' 
behind the material consequence, and that 'the thing which 
ultimately brought about the victory of the Allied forces . . . was 
not wholly the strength of the soldier . . . but . . .was rather the 
mental forces that were at work . . . producing . . . that unconquer- 
able determination that this war should have but one end.' The 
minds of the citizens of the United States, working for the moment 
in close harmony, were assisted in maintaining that harmony by 
the activities of a Committee on Public Information. 

It would have been possible to let the military mind prevail; to 
clamp down the lid of a tight censorship upon all news and opinion 
lest some of it, released, give aid and comfort to the enemy. It 
would have been equally possible to erect a propaganda agency to 
speak as dogmatic truth the doctrine most acceptable to the 
Government. For nearly three years the United States had been 
flooded with documents emanating from every Government at 
war, telling, each of them, the story of official wish, attacking the 
good faith of the enemy, and shading off at the margins into lies 
too clumsy for belief except where the will to believe had doped 
the conscience and stupefied the intellect. The President had been 
blamed as obtuse; but there was deep irony in the sentence of his 
peace circular of December 18, 1916: 'The objects which the 
statesmen of the belligerents on both sides have in mind in this war 


are virtually the same, as stated in general terms to their own 
people and to the world. 5 

It was not possible for the United States to escape the danger 
that the leakage of military secrets might be disastrous, or the 
necessity to inform the mind that asked for facts and reasons. 
The United States lacks that condition of parliamentary govern- 
ments, in which the ministers of the moment sit with the lawmakers, 
able to challenge the irresponsible, and subject to interrogation 
every day. It has no official mouthpiece except as the President, 
from time to time and on occasions of his own choice, may address 
the people. Possessing a written Constitution with a mandatory 
statement that 'Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the 
freedom of speech, or of the press, 5 it was impracticable to prevent 
the utterance of statements and opinions such as snarl the processes 
of government, misinform the public mind, and confuse the issue 
on every public question. Less misleading than propaganda, more 
liberal than censorship, there was need for a channel through 
which facts might be used to wash away the foundations of false- 
hood or misconception and to establish liaison between the Govern- 
ment and the citizens upon whose minds democratic government 
must stand or fall. 

Seven days after the declaration of a state of war, the Secretaries 
of State, War, and Navy addressed to the President a letter urging 
him to erect an 'authoritative agency 3 for the publication and 
dissemination of facts about the war. Wilson acted the next day, 
April 14, naming the same secretaries as a Committee on Public 
Information, for which a contentious journalist, George Creel, 
was appointed executive. *A man of primitive violence/ as Collier's 
described him somewhat aptly in the autumn, Creel had been an 
editor and free-lance writer for nearly half of his forty years. His 
literary urge was to range from Quatrains of Christ (1907) to Ireland's 
Fight for Freedom (1919). He gloried in the duty he now undertook 
and when it was done he described it in How We Advertised America 
( 1 920) . In his journalistic career Creel had trod on many political 
toes; he continued so to tread, and not always discreetly. His 
tongue was too restive for easy control. Men whose plans he had 


impeded sat too numerously in Congress for his comfort in the 
months to come. But he could act quickly. Within a few days of 
his appointment he took over an old-fashioned dwelling on Jackson 
Place, opposite the White House. His warrant gave him easy ac- 
cess to all the departments, and in the White House he could 
always reach the President. He sent his fellow craftsmen every- 
where, searching for news. 

The appointment of Creel was described as that of a censor by 
newspapers afraid their freedom to print would be curtailed. 
Censor he was not, in any exact sense; for censorship implies 
scrutiny and control in advance of publication or utterance. At 
no time during the war was such a censorship in existence except as 
military commanders prevented release of news from within their 
lines, and as the foreign-language press was required to submit 
translations. At no time was there an antecedent barrier to utter- 
ance and publication for the individual ready to risk the legal 
consequences in case his action became the cause of injury. The 
right of Congress to punish military crime is quite as complete as is 
the freedom of the citizen in speech and in press; and there is no 
reason for supposing that the latter freedom carries with it release 
from the consequences of publication. Libel and slander remain 
actionable even under the First Amendment to the Constitution; 
sedition comes about when the free tongue and pen do damage to 
the State. In a unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court, Justice 
Oliver Wendell Holmes (whose opinions even in dissent have come 
to be treated as inspired) declared: 

It is a question of proximity and degree. When a nation is at war 
many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hin- 
drance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long 
as men fight, and that no court could regard them as protected by 
any constitutional right. 

Under a censorship an anonymous censor determines in advance 
what shall be printed; under the First Amendment it becomes the 
duty of the courts to determine whether damage has been done. 
There is a difference. 

It was the view of Creel, and of the group of journalists who 


made up his staff, that their business was to release the news. 
Every department of the Government was nervous, fearful lest a 
slip should give information to the enemy, and disposed to treat 
innocent news as vital military secrets. Creel conceived that full 
news of the American effort would add another to the weapons of 
offensive war. He entered into a prolonged campaign to lift the 
lid, to compel the departments to give his men the news, and to 
procure for this news the widest publicity. His offices were open 
twenty-four hours of the day. As rapidly as his staff assembled 
material, the piles of mimeographed releases were made ready for 
distribution to the newsmen for whom access to the bureaus was 
generally barred. Correspondents used the releases in their 
stories. A 'country editor 5 was brought to Jackson Place to pre- 
pare a weekly digest of the news for rural papers, whose mailing list 
soon reached 12,000 offices. It became desirable to keep track of 
the news released, so on May 10 appeared the first number of the 
Official Bulletin, in which the items were printed the day after the 
correspondents had used them and which reached a daily circula- 
tion of 1 18,000 in the summer of 1918. 

Much led to more; as men came to the C.P.I, with plans to help 
disseminate fact and argument, Creel took them on. A volunteer 
from Chicago brought him the idea of a brigade of speakers; men 
with self-restraint enough to stop in four minutes, who should be 
briefed with appropriate material from Washington, and who 
should slip to the stage in front of the screen in movie theaters. 
Creel thought, when he summarized the work of the Four-Minute 
Men, that 75,000 such had addressed 7,555,190 audiences carrying 
their message. A speaking division was created to send more 
formal orators on tour. Advertising men were mobilized to con- 
tribute their technique. Artists were tied into the organization to 
draw posters and cartoons. Films were prepared showing the 
nature of the American effort. Far from suppressing the foreign- 
tongued as though they were a class apart, Creel turned his 
material into as many dialects as he could find, fed the foreign- 
language press, and found it as anxious as any to co-operate. He 
sent his agents abroad to advertise the United States and to force 


through the close lines of the enemy an explanation of the Ameri- 
can cause and a picture of the preparation. He pressed everywhere 
the wedge that Wilson had started between the enemy peoples and 
their Governments, and among the allies of the Central Powers. 

From Jackson Place his staff assembled the raw materials of 
news, publicity, and propaganda. Pamphlets soon began to 
appear, explaining and interpreting with more good conscience 
than men are apt to keep in time of war: How the War Came to 
America; The War Message and the Facts Behind It; Why Working 
Men Support the War; War Cyclopedia; and a multitude of others 
until the C.PJ. could count 75,099,023 pieces of printed matter 
that it circulated. An extra-legal agency, created without author- 
ity and supported out of the President's special fund, the Com- 
mittee on Public Information invited criticism and received much 
of it. Creel became 'whipping boy 3 for the President, his every 
utterance searched hopefully for flaws, his every slip and all 
journalism is full of these treated as of the heart. Once or twice 
his overconfidence in the accuracy of offices describing their own 
work betrayed him when the performance did not come up to 
promise. But the Official Bulletin became not only an experiment 
in government journalism, but also the best of single sources upon 
the flow of daily events. 

Apart from the work of the C.P.I, as publicity bureau and as 
impresario, the doctrine that it held and spoke, and offered for the 
adherence of the citizen, was a weapon of the war. This was freed 
at the start from one of the adulterations most deadly to European 
propagandas. The United States had none of what was commonly 
described as 'ulterior aim.' The defeat of the enemy was the single 
objective: and this only in order that an American vision of a 
world without war might be raised to reality. No belligerent on 
either side of the European contest, except perhaps Belgium, could 
be entirely sincere in its statements of war aims. Each had national 
cravings dressed up as though their satisfaction were in the 
interest of the world. Until the Czarist regime crashed in Russia 
there was incongruity in arguing that the war was one of demo- 
cratic governments against autocracy. Russia and Italy, at least, 


had received promises of ultimate compensation inconsistent with 
the claim that they were fighting for peace alone. The complaint 
of the Central Powers that the war was forced upon them by an 
encirclement by their enemies was as inconsistent with the aggres- 
sive mood of Austria-Hungary when invading Serbia, as it was 
with the speed of Germany when grasping a military initiative at 
the expense of Belgium, Before the entry of the United States it 
was equally possible to think of the Allies as determined to elimi- 
nate Germany from the map, and of the Central Powers as inspired 
by deliberate lust for conquest. Each was in error in describing 
the motive of its enemies: neither was entirely frank in stating its 
own. The temper of the century compelled every Government to 
speak the language of a nation loving peace. This war lacked the 
simplicity of motive that makes earlier wars more easy of historical 

The United States craved no dominion and asked no indemnity. 
Its aim was freed from the taint of earthly desire, however it 
might be inflated with impracticable vision. The Wilson doctrine 
was the doctrine of his C.P.I. It was elaborated in the war of 
pamphlets and was explained out of the history of the United 
States and of the world. It was rationalized as a reasonable out- 
growth of United States experience. It was grounded in the ideas 
implicit in the phrase, 'a world safe for democracy.' 

Neither picture as presented to the people was entirely fair. 
The antithesis of democratic governments and autocracies was less 
than complete. The assumption that went with each was less than 
warranted. It was lacking in historicity to assert that the aims of 
democracies had habitually been those of peace and useful to the 
world, or that the aims of autocracies were of necessity those of 
conquest. It is hardly likely that historians can ever drag from the 
record of the past material sufficient to provide adequate sailing 
charts for the future. Most causes briefed out of history have only 
rationalizations behind them; and even when it is done with more 
than average sincerity, as it was in the C.P.I., there still runs 
through all of it the distorting influence of a state of mind. The 
historians who saw in the United States a democracy of peace were 


hopeful rather than authoritative. They were helpful, however, 
for it was possible to pick out of the American story validated 
events with which to construct the sort of picture that Americans 
wanted to believe; and that, believed, made firmer their willing- 
ness to carry out the war. 

The main thesis of the Allies, hardly challenged in the United 
States except by those who w T ere discredited as pro-German before 
they spoke, was that Germany, a military nation, 'Prussianized 3 by 
a ruling class, was ready for war and craving it was a means of in- 
creasing national glory. It was easier to overlook flaws in the 
argument of the Allies than to argue away the implications of 
compulsory military training, the c goose-step,' and the Junker 
officer caste, which indeed were facts. Upon the American devo- 
tion to a theory of peace and upon the positive aversion to con- 
scription or rule by an army, the ideal of a world c safe for demo- 
cracy' could be built, and was. War became less distasteful when it 
was believed to be a war to end war. Victory by Germany might 
be the first phase of a menace to American safety. Gerard, back 
from Berlin, threw his recollections as ambassador first into My 
Four Years in Germany (1917), and then into Face to Face with 
Kaiserism (1918). He told of an Emperor waiting only to finish 
with European enemies before dealing with the Monroe Doctrine 
and the United States. A peace that would last formed the positive 
side of the American doctrine; the reverse displayed a United 
States which, to be safe, must live armed to the teeth. 

The reasons for American entry, the validity of the picture 
sketched by Wilson and disseminated by Creel, came in due time 
to be challenged by a younger generation and disputed in the in- 
terest of the doctrines of the American minority. C. Hartley 
Grattan inquired into the matter, delivering a verdict hostile to 
the official view in Why We Fought (1929). Walter Millis, in Road 
to War (1935)5 discarded much of Grattan, but found reasons of his 
own for believing the United States to have been misled. Charles 
C. Tansill, first to make careful use of the great mass of manuscript 
already available, brought all students into his debt in America 
Goes to War (1938), yet failed to see eye to eye with either of his 


predecessors as he displayed his grounds for distrust of the intelli- 
gence or sincerity of much of the American war leadership. It 
remained for Secretary Baker to make a documented restatement of 
what Americans of the war generation thought to be the American 
case in Why We Went to War (1936). 

With every medium at his disposal Creel displayed the American 
case. His staff elaborated it. As an hypothesis it was as close-knit 
and coherent as most political hypotheses are, and it was largely 

Perhaps as convincing for the moment as any of the illustrative 
material brought forward to support the major theses of the war 
was the material believed to bear upon the 'war guilt' of 1914. 
Georg Michaelis had much to say about it. Speaking as new 
Imperial Chancellor in the summer of 1917 (for von Bethmann- 
Hollweg was retired in July), Michaelis repudiated e war guilt' and 
clung to the official German story that the war had been forced 
upon his country. Subsequent investigations by the horde of 
historians who tried in the next two decades to fix the matter of 
guilt have made it reasonable to believe that Germany did not 
'will the war' to occur when and as it happened. Berlin slipped 
when it underwrote an arrogant Austria-Hungary in the demands 
on Serbia. But at the last minute, in the fatal days of July, 1914, 
the German Government made great efforts to prevent the local 
struggle from spreading across the map. The subsequent in- 
vestigations are far from establishing the fact that Germany was 
victim of a plot to destroy its power. This, however, was official 
doctrine among the Central Powers as was the opposite among the 

As the first flurries of bewilderment subsided in the autumn of 
1914, the Allies built upon the obvious truth of German readiness 
to fight and presented a picture of unnecessary war, precipitated 
, deliberately by a military caste, and threatening the world. None 
of the immediate diplomatic publications of the various combat- 
ants was inclusive enough to prove the truth of this. Many of the 
official collections published on both sides sinned by omission, part 
statement, and even fraud. All suffered from lack of full know- 


ledge. But the Allied picture helped make up the American mind. 
Wilson eventually accepted it and after the breach presented its 
details in his public utterances. Henry Morgenthau, his ambassa- 
dor at Constantinople, sustained it by recalling utterances quoting 
the Kaiser as saying in May, 1914, that war was inevitable. He 
made this more specific by recalling details passed to him at his 
post; details of a conference at Potsdam, July 5, 1914, only a few 
days after the funeral of the archduke and the opening of the re- 
built Kiel Canal, at which it was said to have been decided that der 
Tag had come. The elaboration of this conspiracy, with Germany 
in the leading role, had propaganda values whether true or not. 
And elaborated it was. The War Cyclopedia fell for it, though cau- 
tiously prefacing its summary with the caveat c it is asserted. 3 How 
far a belief in the conspiracy cooked up at Potsdam turned men's 
minds can only be guessed at. But it was unsound. The events 
recalled by Morgenthau had not occurred as he related them. 

Much sounder and as useful was the proof of the intrigue by 
German officials in the United States; to destroy plants, to deceive 
labor, and to do sabotage. Here there were official records and 
cross-examined facts. And as useful, too, informing the mind that 
sought to know why democracy and autocracy were in clash were 
descriptive pamphlets of the C.P.L, such as German War Practices; 
The German War Code; The Government of Germany, in which was 
brought out the undemocratic character of the German Govern- 
ment. The war-practice booklets showed the degree to which the 
modern German officer had carried war away from the wise mod- 
eration of the earlier German, Francis Lieber, who prepared for 
the use of Union armies in the Civil War the first rule book of its 
kind: Instructions for the Government of Armies in the Field. This had 
been published as General Orders 100, in 1862. 

The American hypothesis of democracy versus autocracy had its 
considerable, if incomplete, basis in fact. It was, however, an 
affair of the intellect, and like most structures of the intellect it had 
less influence than fear or hate upon men's minds. The hate mills 
set to work. Not often did their output bear the imprint of the 
C.P.I., but private names and private organizations were enthusi- 


astic sponsors. The National Security League, founded in 1914 to 
advance preparedness, loaded itself now with the duty to keep 
America loyal, saw traitors behind Teutonic names, and suspected 
dangerous liberalism when Creel and his men were moderate in 
their denunciations. It launched a campaign for 'Patriotism 
through Education,' published a Handbook of the War for Public 
Speakers (1917), and hardly concealed a deep Republican suspi- 
cion that a Democratic Administration could not be loyal. The 
Wilson distinction between the enemy peoples and their Govern- 
ments was disruptive as it worked across the lines. At home, by its 
very moderation, it ran counter to a human tendency to hate an 
enemy and to distrust those who were moderate in their hates. 

At one point the C.P.I, paused and by the pause it established 
itself as different from many of the propaganda agencies whose 
pages had been thrust before American eyes since 1914. It did 
almost nothing with 'atrocities. 3 The War Cyclopedia, prepared for 
the use of speakers, referred in general terms to these and spoke, 
indeed, more than it knew, but it refrained from citation of specific 
cases, although it referred the reader to the Bryce report on Bel- 
gium. Nothing in the war argument worried the American Ger- 
man more than the allegations of murder and maltreatment done 
by his relatives in Belgium and France. A documented proof of 
these would have had superlative value as a propaganda docu- 
ment, and to prepare this Creel set a distinguished historian to 
work. It was supposed that the material would be easy to find, 
but no Atrocities' were discovered sufficiently documented to be 
used and nothing was faked. The matter was dropped to the 
lower temperature of a technical study of military illegalities. It 
was neither hatred of Germany that did most of the work as binder 
of minds, nor affection for the Allies. As involvement in the war 
progressed a conviction grew that somehow or other a better 
world was within reach once victory was won. 

Alongside the positive doctrines of the war, the C.P.I, worked 
to resolve doubts, and at particular points to counteract and com- 
bat specific oppositions. Before the war session of Congress met, 
most of the groups opposing participation had dwindled, because 


they were convinced, or were In hopeless minority, or were un- 
willing to incur popular hostility. The organized Socialists, how- 
ever, had issued an anti-war manifesto In the spring, and called an 
extraordinary national convention that met in St. Louis the day 
after the declaration. Here Morris Hillquit advised some two 
hundred delegates that 'the country has been violently, need- 
lessly, and criminally involved in war.' 

The nature of the Socialist Party, based upon dues-paying 
members, was such as to make it uncertain how much weight 
ought to be ascribed to party pronouncement. Its voting strength, 
always much in excess of its registered membership, had never 
been large enough to influence a national election. Beginning 
with some 94,000 in 1900, at the first candidacy of Eugene V. 
Debs, this was built up to 897,000 at his fourth candicacy in 1912. 
There was no reason to suppose that so many voters espoused his 
doctrine. His totals were increased by protest votes of persons dis- 
satisfied with trends or candidates of the major parties, as the 
totals of the Prohibition Party had sometimes been. In 1916, be- 
hind a candidate less inspiring than Debs, and after many Pro- 
gressive protest votes had dropped away, the Socialists polled but 
585,000. Socialist doctrines had never spread greatly in the United 
States. Labor held itself aloof. Socialist leaders were so often of 
foreign birth German, Austrian, or Russian that the party 
hardly appeared to be an American body. Not pacifist by convic- 
tion, the Socialist Party was against all wars but its own, Hillquit 
describing it as a 'militant, revolutionary organization.' In the 
weeks before its anti-war convention many of its supporters 
dropped out, making public explanations why they could not op- 
pose this war. After the St. Louis convention more retired. Upton 
Sinclair and John Spargoleft it voluntarily. Charles Edward Rus- 
sell was expelled. A. M. Simons denounced it as scuttled by 'Ger- 
man nationalistic jingoes and anarchistic impossibilities.' Debs 
and Victor L. Berger stood by their doctrine and faced the growing 
unpopularity of their position. 

Socialists nowhere had held generally to their avowed determi- 
nation not to fight for their countries. In Europe they marched 


off with their regiments at mobilization with rank and file hardly 
depleted by conviction. Some of their leaders had in all countries 
stood out longer, forming even in Germany an opposition critical 
of national aims and methods. The utterances of these brought 
to many of them quick punishment as seditious; and to all of them 
wide publicity, as quotations leaked across the borders to be 
handled as though they were expressions of responsible minorities. 

The events in Russia, from the deposition of the Czar until the 
Bolshevik triumph in November, 1917, were inspiring to Socialists 
wherever they found themselves. As the succession of Russian 
provisional governments side-stepped to the left through the sum- 
mer, the Russian radicals claimed to speak for all common people 
who bore the burden of capitalist and imperialist war, and called 
upon proletarians of the world to unite with them for revolution 
and peace. In May, a few days after Kerensky had taken over the 
ministries of War and Justice, their Council of Workmen's and 
Soldiers' Deputies came out for peace based upon twin doctrines: 
e no annexations, no indemnities,' and 'the right of all nations to 
determine their own destiny.' Leaders as far apart as President 
Wilson and the German Socialists could accept these. The latter, 
for the moment allowed to get out of hand in the Reichstag, put 
through a resolution, July 19, demanding the former of the aims. 

It was inevitable that in the United States those who stayed 
Socialist should desire to co-operate in this, and that many who 
had been reluctant to enter war were ready to accept these utter- 
ances as made in good faith. A People's Council for Democracy 
and Terms of Peace was born in Madison Square Garden at a 
Memorial Day conference, shortly after the Russian plea was 
heard. Hillquit and Berger were there; as were Lochner, who had 
steered the Ford peace mission in 1915 and who now thought this 
was a 'ground swell,' and Oswald G. Villard, whose Nation was 
now out of sympathy with most of the group who had been its 
mainstay. Tumulty refused to procure an audience with the 
President for the committee of the conference: but headquarters 
appeared, and its propaganda stayed in the limelight until the 


The immediate objective of the People's Council was represen- 
tation of the United States at a Stockholm Conference, called by 
Russian Socialists for September, at which plans were to be formu- 
lated for the people to take over their governments and end the 
war. It had been announced, even before the People's Council 
was formed, that the United States would send no agents, and 
that the State Department would withhold passports from persons 
desiring to go as delegates from private organizations. The Lon- 
don Saturday Review opined that the conference would doubtless be 
attended by 'a considerable number of tricksters and traitors. 3 
When the German Government gave support to the conference, as 
though in sympathy with its proponents, the project was de- 
nounced as a plot for a German peace. Lincoln Steffens was re- 
ported as convinced that Germany desired it not for peace but to 
save kaiserism. 

The Stockholm Conference was postponed from time to time, 
because its international character was blocked by general passport 
trouble. But the People's Council continued its advocacy of terms 
of peace as urged by Russia and endorsed by the Reichstag, and 
determined to hold its own convention in the Middle West about 
the time the conference at Stockholm ought to have met. It was 
easier to call such a convention than to find hosts who would wel- 
come it. North Dakota was considered, whither Governor Lynn 
J. Frazier was said to have invited it, and thither a special train, 
jeered at as the 'rabbit special,' departed August 30 from New 
York. Ex-Senator John D. Works held a meeting in its favor in 
Los Angeles, but he resigned from the Council when he became 
convinced that it was a Socialist annex. Fargo, the North Dakota 
destination, was abandoned as a meeting place in favor of Minne- 
apolis, whose mayor extended an invitation without reckoning 
with the Governor of Minnesota, who forbade the Council to as- 
semble in his State. Two Wisconsin towns, Hudson and Mil- 
waukee, were suggested and abandoned, until at last Mayor 
William Hale Thompson permitted it to come to rest in Chicago. 
Here it met and passed its resolutions, surrounded by a hostile 
publicity that defeated its purpose and challenged by another 


organization launched by Gompers with the aid of Creel for the 
specific purpose of combating radical movements. 

The American Alliance of Labor and Democracy was put to- 
gether in New York before the end of August to be a militant fly- 
ing squadron, with a mission to challenge every statement that 
labor did not support the war. Gompers knew much about the 
left-wing movements within the American Federation of Labor. 
These had long sought to turn labor into a political party, a move- 
ment that he distrusted and despised. He had opposed them suc- 
cessfully in his annual conventions. He now fought the People's 
Council when it attempted to detach labor from the war. When 
the 'rabbit special 5 left New York on its devious search for a place 
to meet, the 'red, white, and blue' special of the American Alliance 
followed it on September 2, with a welcome assured. Invited to 
Minneapolis, there it went. The President wrote Gompers a letter 
of congratulation upon the effort: and the Minneapolis resolutions 
were drafted as though the authors had the war speeches of the 
President under their eye. The American Federation of Labor, 
at its annual meeting in November, sustained the policy of Gom- 
pers by a vote of 21,579 to 402, and listened to Wilson expound his 
own ideas in person. There was no room for pacifism in the Ameri- 
can Federation: to avow one's self interested in peace as immedi- 
ately obtainable was to invite denunciation as pro-German. 

The intensity of the fight to keep the American mind behind the 
war was out of proportion to the importance of the various minor- 
ity movements that were either critical or in open opposition. 
Ready to accept war in April, convinced that it knew why it was 
right to accept war in midsummer, American loyalty was exasper- 
ated by opposition however slight. Toward the end of the war 
session of Congress, and soon after the collapse of the demonstra- 
tion of the People's Council, Senator La Follette spoke before 
another of the out-of-step brigades and fell victim to the burdens 
of opprobrium. 

The Nonpartisan League, a Western offshoot of the Progressive 
movement, flared up in North Dakota in 1915. Capturing its 
State with the ease with which any angry electorate can always 


capture Its State, It was proceeding upon its course of economic 
self-help when war broke out. It was not greatly interested in the 
war. It was willing to suspect that any policy approved by finance 
and business in the East was wrong. It readily absorbed a part of 
the doctrine preached by La Follette and his associates in the 
Senate that the war was one of big business in which the United 
States ought not to be involved. Having fought big business the 
North Dakota voters liked to believe the worst about it. But when 
the People's Council tried to bring the Nonpartisan League Into 
Its organization, the leaders of the latter stayed out. When La 
Follette addressed the annual convention of the Nonpartisan 
League in St. Paul, September 20, the Nonpartisan Leader endorsed 
his utterances upon free speech, but declined to accept him when 
c he speaks of the causes of the war and gives his interpretation of 
the events leading up to it. 3 

There was no concealment of La Toilette's bitter opposition to 
American entry. He had used in his remarks upon the war resolu- 
tion the words: 'Germany has been patient with us.' And he had 
made the words even more deliberate by withholding the draft of 
the speech from immediate publication in the Congressional Record,, 
and by leaving the words in the copy finally provided for the pub- 
lic printer. He now repeated at St. Paul what every reader of the 
Congressional Record knew by heart; but he did not say what the 
Associated Press attributed to him: c We had rio grievances.' Too 
late for it to do him any good, the Associated Press acknowledged 
its interpolation of the word c no/ and made apology. Another of 
the storms of denunciation to which La Follette was accustomed 
broke about him. His constituents passed resolutions repudiating 
him. There was a movement in the Senate to expel him. Vierectfs 
was doing his reputation no good by declaring that the 'stars seem 
to point to Robert M. La Follette as the leader in the fight to make 
democracy safe at home*; a distinguished historian wrote to the 
New Tork Times that only Aaron Burr was 'more ready to betray 
democracy for his own selfish ends'; Roosevelt was quoted as say- 
ing that La Follette was loyally and efficiently serving one country 
Germany. 9 La Follette kept his head up through the storm. 


The Senate, for once getting good out of its stubborn insistence on 
its privilege, postponed action upon the demand for his expulsion 
until the wave of emotion changed its course. But the extreme 
isolation into which he and those who thought more or less like 
him were thrown became a measure of the unanimity of thought, 
in the directing of which the G.P.I. had a hand. 

Aversion to the necessity for war was one of the American moods 
from which could be evoked a willingness to sustain the 'war to end 
wars. 3 Along with this marched a desire to relieve suffering, which 
helped to harden the morale. 

From the beginning of combat in Europe relief movements of a 
sort had grown in popularity in the United States. The German 
efforts to send food and milk back home were only in part a de- 
vice to bring about an embargo by embroiling the United States 
with Britain. They received the sympathetic co-operation of 
many who had no sympathy with the German Government. A 
similar sympathy created ambulance services and hospitals and 
efforts to reconstruct the desolated areas that began to rebuild 
almost before the echoes of the guns were silenced. The American 
Society of the Red Gross took advantage of this emotion to extend 
its chapters and strengthen its organization before 1917. 

Congress had not incorporated the American Society of the Red 
Cross until 1905, although it had been privately chartered since 
1 88 1. Saint Camillus de Lellis, founder of the Agonizants, whose 
sixteenth-century badge it used, had been designated as patron 
saint of nurses by Leo XIII in 1886. It pushed its membership on 
war emotion and raised funds for Washington headquarters, a 
memorial to the women of the Civil War. The President spoke at 
the dedication of its building, May 10, 1917. Plans were already 
afoot to make the Red Cross an auxiliary of the armed services. 

As he looked back upon the war, Secretary Baker avowed that 
were it to be done by him again he would not permit auxiliaries 
under independent management to take the part assumed in 1917 
by the Red Cross, the Young Men's Christian Association, the 
Knights of Columbus, the Young Men's Hebrew Association, and 
the Salvation Army. He would instead perform these services as a 


part of the military organization. But in this reflection Baker was 
thinking as administrator of the Army and not in connection with 
the contribution of these volunteer associations to the morale 
behind the lines. The overworked Army in 1917 was ready to take 
aid where it could get it. Before long Baker accepted as an 
Assistant Secretary of War Frederick P. Keppel, a dean from 
Columbia University, who knew about social workers, college 
professors, and the sorts of people who could work better in the 
auxiliaries than in the regular service. Looking after these became 
a large part of his duty. The citizens whose boys must go to war 
let them go the more contentedly when they themselves had a 
chance at home to advance the Army welfare. 

Himself honorary president of the Red Cross, Wilson announced 
on May 10 the erection of a Red Cross War Council, to take over 
large responsibilities, human and financial. He borrowed a 
Morgan partner, Henry P. Davison, to direct the work. Davison, 
used to thinking in millions, announced that during the week 
June 18-25, on the heels of registration and the floating of the 
First Liberty Loan, they would raise by voluntary contribution 
$100,000,000 to enable the Red Cross to be in fact what its charter 
stated: c a medium of communication between the people of the 
United States of America and their Army and Navy. 3 

The Red Cross drive was a financial success. It overshot its 
mark by three millions. It accumulated at once five million en- 
rolled members whose Red Cross buttons joined the Liberty Loan 
buttons and the Service Stars as badges of co-operation. At the end 
of the war it claimed twenty million members organized in 17,186 
branches. The speakers in the drive, the new members, the local 
officers of local chapters, added another layer to the mesh of 
patriotic organizations. The other auxiliaries followed with their 
own drives, until the Salvation Army doughnuts, hot from the 
sizzling kettles just behind the trenches, became a symbol of 

The statutes of the United States did not grant enough authority 
even to dig out and restrain sabotage and conspiracy while the 
neutral status lasted. Conspiracy to obstruct the operation of law 


was indeed forbidden, but there was lack of power to differentiate 
among those acts which, done in time of peace as no more than bad 
manners or misdemeanors, became threatening in their possibility 
of evil in time of war. Other nations at war had found it necessary 
to revise their criminal statutes in order to reach war crimes. 
DORA, the English Defense of the Realm Act, was already a 
widely known intrusion upon the affairs of private citizens. 
Congress conceived that there would be need for such law. No 
one in the United States had foreseen that public opinion, so 
nearly unanimous, would do most of its own policing. This was 
not visible as fact until Congress had ended its own debate upon 
what to do about it. 

In the preceding Congress the Senate had considered and passed 
a revision of the neutrality act, carrying new provisions for a better 
prevention of espionage and sedition, and for a control of the 
dissemination of such military information as might be useful to an 
enemy. The attempt had lapsed with the end of the session in 
March. The fighting departments, and the Attorney-General, 
continued to lament the inadequacy of the law and made new 
drafts of their desires for the consideration of the new Congress. In 
the letter of the three secretaries urging upon the President the 
creation of the Committee on Public Information, it was suggested 
that the two functions of censorship and publicity might be com- 
bined in one body, without any legal authority beyond that of the 
commander-in-chief. The censorship functions were thought of as 
involving a restraint upon 'premature or ill-advised announce- 
ments.' The President went on record, in a letter to Arthur 
Brisbane, against a 'system of censorship that would deny to the 
people of a free republic like our own their indisputable right to 
criticize their own public officials.' But he needed a law to expand 
the existing provisions of the criminal code so as to cover sedition 
in its various forms, and he did not interpose objection to the pro- 
jected censorship and sedition law presented to the judiciary com- 
mittees by the Department of Justice. 

Debate upon the project was under way even before the declara- 
tion of war. It took much of the time of Congress in the fortnight 


after the completion of the loan act. It did not end until the 
Espionage Act received the approval of the President on June 15. 
In the early days of May both houses were hard at it, giving simul- 
taneous consideration to the Administration proposals, as modified 
by their committees before introduction. The rider to the measure, 
granting a power to control exports, was discussed as a risky con- 
centration of discretion in the hands of the President, but the real 
fight was upon a group of sections vesting in him the equivalent of 
a censorship. 

The offensive words, upon which debate turned, came in 'Title 
I, Section 4,' which the House reached on May 3. In these, during 
war or a threat of war, as declared by the President, the latter was 
empowered to 'prohibit the publishing or communicating of . . . 
any information relating to the national defense which, in his 
judgment, is of such character that it is or might be useful to the 
enemy. 3 There was a proviso that nothing should be construed as 
restricting criticism of the Government or its agents; but there was 
a violent opposition to even so much of a restriction of a free press 
as the words contained. Republicans in the House, and some 
Democrats, attacked it as inconsistent with the guaranty of the 
First Amendment. The Hearst papers gathered and presented a 
petition of a million and a half signers against it. The American 
Newspaper Publishers' Association opposed it. And editorial 
writers went back to the sad history of the Sedition Act of 1798 to 
show how contrary it was to the spirit of American institutions. 

In this, they were in harmony with American preference. The 
Sedition Act, passed by the harassed Federalist Administration 
during the naval war with France, had expired in 1 80 1, by a limi- 
tation stated in itself. It had never been repeated. There were 
none to defend the right of any newspaper to sell for its profit the 
military news upon whose secrecy national safety depended; but 
the arguments decrying any grant of authority to restrict the press 
carried far. Much was made of the useful exposures of British 
military incompetence by the Northcliffe papers, and of the 
injury to public interest inherent in the military desire to repress 
criticism of military performance. It could be shown with con- 


siderable soundness that the President already, as commander-in- 
chief, possessed large authority to control the dissemination of 
military secrets. George S. Graham, a Republican member from 
Philadelphia, moved to strike out the offending section, and had in 
this the support of Speaker Clark. The House sustained the 
motion by vote of 221 to 167, with most of the consistent supporters 
of the Administration in the minority. The evidence hardly bears 
out the assertion of Josephus Daniels: 'Woodrow Wilson saw to it 
that there was no censorship of the press in the United States dur- 
ing the World War. 5 

It was one thing for the House of Representatives to kill the 
censorship, and quite another thing to keep it killed. The Senate 
liked it and had its own bill with censorship intact, completed at 
the moment when the House bill was brought to it on May 9. In 
the interest of simplicity and speed the Senate struck out all of the 
House bill but the enacting clause, substituted its own measure, 
passed it and sent it to conference on May 14. There were only six 
dissenting Senators (three had been 'willful men' and had voted 
'no' on the war resolution Gronna, La Follette, and Vardaman) 
to oppose the seventy-seven who advanced the measure. It came 
from conference with censorship modified, but kept alive by 
insistence of Senate conferees; and it went back to conference upon 
a House refusal, 184 to 44, to accept the Senate amendment. At 
the second conference the Senate surrendered, yielding to House 
determination not to vote a censorship. The Espionage Act as 
passed gave much new authority to the Government, but not this. 

In addition to power to control exports, and a revision of 
neutrality details, now unimportant, the Espionage Act gave a new 
definition of crimes against the public interest in time of war, and 
enlarged the power of the Postmaster-General to see to it that 
enemies of the Government did not make use of the mails in ad- 
vancing their arguments. 

Under its heading Title I, Espionage,' it not only defined 
espionage and provided penalties for those convicted of being 
spies, but also defined crimes of obstruction or conspiracy that were 
likely to interfere with the execution by the Administration of the 


acts of Congress. To most of these no serious objection was raised 
in either house. The sections granting power to control enemy 
aliens and to punish for industrial sabotage, desired by the 
Department of Justice, were not included, and the Attorney- 
General lamented this omission for several more months. But 
the operations of such as might oppose the war were made more 
difficult by a section on false reports and false statements, made 
willfully, 'with intent to interfere with the operation or success of 
the military or naval forces'; and by penalties running to ten 
thousand dollars' fine and twenty years' imprisonment for those 
who should 'willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, 
mutiny, or refusal of duty ... or shall willfully obstruct the re- 
cruiting or enlistment service.' 

A remote equivalent of a censorship made its appearance in 
'Title XII. Use of the Mails.' It was no new thing for the United 
States to get at offenses otherwise, perhaps, outside its jurisdiction, 
by exercising its power to control the character of material passing 
through the mails. Lotteries had been attacked by this technique. 
Obscene literature was similarly banned. The definition of c un- 
mailable matter' was now enlarged to include every letter, writing, 
circular, postal card, . . . newspaper, pamphlet, book ... in viola- 
tion of any of the provisions of this act/ It was made also to include 
material of any kind 'advocating or urging treason, insurrection, or 
forcible resistance to any law of the United States.' Attempts- to 
use the mails for these forbidden purposes were awarded penalties 
up to five thousand dollars and five years; and the duty devolved 
upon the Postmaster-General and his staff to apply the rule to 
matter offered to the mails. 

Critics of the measure urged as an objection to it the necessity to 
open and examine first-class mail matter in order to determine 
whether the law was being violated. This innovation struck at a 
cherished right, based upon the sanctity of the mails. Printed 
matter, sent unsealed, offered no difficulty to enforcing officers ex- 
cept the great labor of examination, but letters were sacred. 
Under existing laws there was no right to open a sealed letter 
without a search warrant; and while there was some doubt 


whether this matter was covered by the constitutional guaranty of 
the 'right of the people to be secure . . . against unreasonable 
searches and seizures/ it was certain that indiscriminate examina- 
tion of sealed first-class mail would be so unpopular as to defeat its 
purpose. The law made it clear that only a duly authorized 
'employee of the Dead Letter Office 5 or 'other person upon a 
search warrant authorized by law' might 'open any letter not ad- 
dressed to himself. 5 

The Post Office was not the best place in which to conduct the 
filtration of material called for by Title XII. In nearly every case 
the determination upon the character of the material called for 
information, judgment, and poise not certain to be part of the 
equipment of postal inspectors. As the summer advanced, Burle- 
son was in increasing controversy with the owners of periodicals in 
which he found matter apparently in violation of the law. When he 
ruled that a given issue was unmailable, his action prevented its 
distribution and the regularity of issue upon which second-class 
mailing privilege was based was broken. The next number could 
not exercise the privilege thus lapsed, and the owner was forced 
again to make application for admission to it. This involved great 
loss to the owners and increased the penalty. The American 
Socialist was out of the mails immediately upon passage of the law. 
Jeremiah A. O 5 Leary 5 s Bull lost its privilege in July. Max East- 
man's Masses followed it in August, and Victor Berger 5 s Milwaukee 
Leader in October. None of the journals barred under the law was 
of wide circulation or influence, but such censorship by indirection 
gained them sympathizers in circles that disapproved their policy. 

In spite of the complaint of the Attorney-General that the 
powers to protect the Government were inadequate, the evidence 
of the cases rising under either the exclusion powers of the Post- 
master-General or the new definitions of sedition indicates that 
sedition was uncommon. Whether it was in fact necessary to pro- 
ceed against it is open to debate. The sharp criticism of Govern- 
ment and courts by those who disliked any legal coercion was out 
of proportion to either the extent of the dislike or the burden of the 
coercion. Public opinion settled the matter, for public opinion 


supported the war and the effort of the Government to carry it to a 
successful end. The Espionage Act, as applied, went further than 
the words on the statute book., for it was administered by officials 
earnest in the war. The powers conferred were extended by 
another law, the Trading with the Enemy Act, in October, 1917. 
And the Sedition Act, May 16, 1918, incorporated in the statutes 
something of the growing impatience with dissent. But the 
Espionage Act became a tool to trim the margins of public 
opinion. Arrests were made by patriots irritated by any opposi- 
tion. Juries, and the panels from which they were selected, had 
their ideas about proper behavior in war time, as their indictments 
and verdicts proved. Attorneys and judges had too little of that 
dispassion that should go with law enforcement. And before final 
judgments could be obtained from the Supreme Court upon the 
propriety of verdicts, the war was over. Zechariah Chafee, a 
professor of law at Harvard, brought out his Freedom of Speech 
(1920), lamenting the damage done to the spirit of the First 
Amendment. But it was a damage in which neither the Congress 
nor the Administration had the first responsibility. The personnel 
of bench, bar, and jury were moved; and being moved they gave to 
law a scope that those who drafted it had hardly had in mind. 


JLN THE early days of war, between the delivery of the war message 
and the passage of the loan act, while it was still not to be expected 
that American armies would fight in France, and before the Allied 
Missions arrived with brief-cases bulging with good advice, the 
most absorbing question in the United States was how to win. 
Woodrow Wilson had recited in his message the matters he could 
think of as involved in war. He had indeed mentioned military 
participation on the battle front; but he dedicated c our lives and 
our fortunes' to victory without more than a guess at the drafts 
that were to be drawn upon both. In the war message he signed 
a blank check, to be paid by the United States. He stood ready to 
write in upon it whatever amount the necessities of the Allies might 
call for and already some of the Allies were prepared to tell him 
what to do. 

David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England, was one of 
these. George had come into Downing Street at the head of his 
own Cabinet after his successful dislodgment of Asquith in Decem- 
ber, 1916. He had already made his name a synonym for action 
and his tongue one for blunt speech. His six fat volumes, War 
Memoirs of David Lloyd George (1933-36), bristling with criticisms of 
the incompetence of others, have caused more than one reviewer 
to inquire: 'Can any statesman in the fog of war have been so often 
right? 5 On the Thursday after the declaration he ate with the 
American Luncheon Club in London, welcomed his hosts as com- 
rades in arms, and told them the duty of the United States: The 
road to victory, the guaranty of victory, the absolute assurance of 
victory, has to be found in one word, ships, in a second word, 
ships, and a third word, ships.' He was at least explicit. Even at 


this, however, he did not reveal to his hearers the terrible damage 
done to Allied shipping by the German submarines. Had the 
Imperial Government been a little more careful and much less 
arrogant in the matter of neutral right and life there is good reason 
to suppose that it might have carried its maritime campaign to 
success against its enemies. Its blunders brought the United States 
into the war. Yet its submarines sunk their millions of tons with 
only occasional loss to non-resistant crews. There need not have 
been any loss; or at least no more than by prompt avowal and 
indemnity would have prevented neutral anger from rising into 
war spirit. 

In the quarter in which Lloyd George spoke, the second quarter 
of 1917, the merchant marine of England alone lost 1,360,000 tons 
of ships, making a total of 5,360,000 lost since the beginning of the 
war. Every day for the Allied shipyards could not launch new 
keels as rapidly as the enemy could sink them the deficit in 
tonnage was growing worse. In the very fortnight of the address, 
c one out of every four ships leaving the United Kingdom for 
overseas' never came back, wrote Edward N. Hurley in The 
Bridge to France (1927). 

Even before Lloyd George pointed the duty, the United States 
had seen an opportunity to win the war by building ships faster 
than the U-boats could sink them. The 'bridge of ships' became 
one of the slogans of the war, gratifying to those who could feel a 
good slogan to be half the victory, and there were few in the United 
States to doubt the national capacity for large-scale production. 
The existing shipyards did not promise this, for the sixty-odd yards 
with some 215 ways had room for an occasional new way, but no 
elasticity sufficient to enable them to get beneath the load. Edward 
A. Filene was not far wrong when he stated, somewhat later, that 
it would take four tons of shipping in continuous operation for 
every American soldier in France. 

It was not easy for Filene, or anyone else, to speak with precision 
of the carrying capacity of ships. World practice had not reduced 
ship dimension to a numerical notation intelligible to laymen, or 
revealing clearly the capacity of a vessel to carry freight or men. 


This was the only thing that mattered: the number of actual net 
tons of freight that could be packed away in holds. But even tons 
could not tell the whole story, for light and bulky freight takes 
ship space, and the trick the loader must learn is to fill his hull with 
as many tons as his ship can carry, filling at the same time its 
cubic capacity so as to waste no space. The men in charge of the 
American effort soon learned that little was on record about 
'stowage factors' the weight-space requirement of each type 
of freight except as seamen by rule of thumb had mastered 
them. Locomotives, shipped fully assembled, had one factor; steel 
rails another; fodder another; even sausage casings were impor- 
tant; and no yarn of the war had more pertinence than that of the 
yardmaster with wooden piles to ship to France who cut them 
into short lengths so that they would go neatly into the hold. 
Existing usage spoke of ships' capacity in four ways, all misleading, 
as Hurley had later to explain to Senator Hiram Johnson. 

In the United States marine men preferred to talk of "dead- 
weight 5 tonnage, or the weight of cargo, coal, and supplies carried 
in a fully loaded ship. This was a figure much less than 'displace- 
ment* used chiefly for ships of war in which the total weight 
of ship, stores, and cargo was given. British usage clung to 'gross 
tonnage,' a maritime fiction ascertained by dividing the cubic 
space of a ship by an arbitrary 100, on the assumption that 100 
cubic feet of freight weighed a ton; but since the cubic space in- 
cluded superstructure as well as hold, and there was no uniformity 
in the measurement of space, the gross tonnage was an inaccurate 
estimate of the capacity of a ship. The term 'net tonnage* meant 
the pay-cargo space divided by 100. Net, gross, and deadweight 
tonnage were related to each other, only approximately, as 3:5:8. 

Ten days after the declaration of war the Emergency Fleet 
Corporation took a charter from the District of Columbia and 
faced its task. C A separate corporation was formed and I am it,' 
wrote Major-General George W. Goethals, builder of the canal at 
Panama, to whom the President assigned the post of general 
manager. Good-will and a readiness to accept ship contracts 
spread far beyond the fences of the existing yards. Construction 


companies, with the demand for office buildings checked, were pre- 
pared to turn to ships and build new yards. The timber in the 
South and West, with 'birds still nesting in their tops/ stood ready 
to be logged and fabricated. If ship carpenters had passed out 
with the shift from wood to steel, house carpenters might learn the 
work. Ingenuity was ready to prove that it was possible to make a 
ship of concrete, and have it float. Steelmakers, in the interior of 
the country where no navigable water ran, saw no difficulty in 
standardizing a type, making the parts wherever there were steel 
and factories and labor, and shipping all to assembly yards along 
the coast. And Henry Ford, no longer pacifist, conceived an 
assembly line at River Rouge from whose ways an endless pro- 
cession of light vessels should slide to sea. 

The organization of this industrial enterprise, the preparation 
of plans, and the operation of the ships when built fell to the duty 
of the United States Shipping Board, one of the creations of the 
preparedness movement. The Administration had not been blind 
to the condition in which the advent of war in 1914 had left the 
United States. For a generation, since the steel merchant ship 
became the type tool of maritime trade, the United States had per- 
mitted the carriage of its exports to be generally in foreign bottoms. 
War kept the vessels of the Central Powers locked in port. Sub- 
marine excesses lessened the number of neutral carriers that dared 
to go to sea. Insurance rates became prohibitive, until the United 
States set up war-risk insurance of its own. The Allies needed most 
of their own tonnage for their own business, and hired it to Ameri- 
can shippers on their own terms or not at all. They carried what 
they pleased, whither they pleased, and were able to make their 
'blacklists' a death warrant to neutral firms. In 1914 Wilson 
urged the creation of a shipping board to build and operate a 
merchant fleet under the United States flag, thus to lessen the 
painful dependence upon the ships of others. In 1915 this was 
made a party measure, but could not be pushed through Congress. 
More successful, in September, 1916, when the wave of willingness 
to prepare for emergencies pressed upon the constituents of 
congressmen, his bill went through. 


It was in late December that Wilson named to the Senate the five 
members who were to compose the Shipping Board. He could 
hardly have named them much earlier since the law was signed 
only on September 7, the day before the session adjourned, while 
the new session did not meet until December 4. He named as 
chairman William Denman, of San Francisco. It took tact to 
get confirmations from the Senate. The Board had a fund of 
$50,000,000 with which it was authorized to buy the stock in 
a corporation to be formed to build the ships, and it had large 
powers in the control of their operation. 

The use of the corporation, as a means of avoiding the red tape 
incident to construction by the United States, was a novelty whose 
advantage had been revealed at Panama where the Government 
had had to acquire the stock of the Panama Railroad. A corpora- 
tion president was vastly more agile than any bureau chief could 
be, for Congress was solicitous to guard against misappropriation 
of funds expended by a branch of the Government. American law 
surrounded every operation of a financial character with specifi- 
cations and accounting rules which slowed it down. Here, speed 
was needed: a speed and flexibility comparable to that with which 
a United States Steel Corporation or a Pennsylvania Railroad 
could meet emergencies and get results. 

The Emergency Fleet Corporation was owned by the United 
States through the Shipping Board which could control its policy 
by voting its stock. Its officers were much the same as those of the 
Board; but when they acted as agents of the Emergency Fleet they 
acted, not under the restrictive laws of Congress, but under the 
general incorporation laws of the State of their incorporation. 
What any private corporation could do, they might do. Denman 
was president of both Board and Emergency Fleet at the start. 
Goethals was general manager of the Fleet, less 'it 5 than he antici- 
pated; and before the end of May he was telling the Iron and Steel 
Institute in New York that he regarded 'all boards as long, narrow, 
and wooden.' In July both he and Denman were thrust aside and 
the ship program passed to other hands which could take advan- 
tage of the spade-work the first crew had done in preparing for a 


fleet. Wilson delegated Edward N. Hurley, a Chicago Democrat, 
to disentangle the snarl. Hurley had been a go-between for the 
Wilson proponents and the machine of Roger C. Sullivan, as well 
as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and one of Davison's 
co-workers on the Red Cross Board. He remained at the head of 
both Shipping Board and Emergency Fleet throughout the war. 

Hurley readjusted the relations between the governing Shipping 
Board and the operating Fleet Corporation so that a deadlock like 
that of Denman and Goethals could not recur. He provided him- 
self with the beginnings of a merchant fleet by commandeering on 
August 3 for the use of the United States all hulls of twenty-five 
hundred tons under construction in American yards. There were 
431 of these, aggregating three million deadweight tons, that 
might carry cargoes when once they were completed. So far as the 
immediate moving of freights was concerned this was no more than 
a bookkeeping order. It transferred the ships from the owners who 
would have operated them to the United States which would only 
slightly modify their use. Many of the hulls were under contract 
for foreign owners, so that the commandeering became an inter- 
national matter in which the Shipping Board stood fast to its right. 
Of a different international slant was the use of the ninety-seven 
interned German merchant ships, running in size from the 
gigantic Vaterland which was soon to figure in the news as the 
Leviathan. These had to be repaired before they could be sent to 
sea, for Bernstorff had attempted their disablement. 

Yet another international complication was developed in March, 
1918, upon the seizure of eighty-seven Dutch ships, of some 
533,746 tons, which were at the moment within the jurisdiction of 
the United States. Holland, between two deadly belligerents, was 
in a jam. The freight the Dutch ships might carry had been dic- 
tated to them for many months by the Netherlands Overseas Trust. 
Now the very ships were taken from their owners. There had been 
tedious negotiations conducted by England and the United States 
in a hope that a way might be found whereby the inactive Dutch 
tonnage could be utilized, for the owners had preferred loss of 
revenue while keeping them in port to loss or damage to ships in 


the war zone. The negotiations were dragged-out and futile since 
Germany made it clear that voluntary compliance by the 
Dutch, whereby the ships should be used for Allied advantage, 
would be followed by German retaliation. And the Netherlands 
lived throughout the war in fear of a violation similar to that of 
Belgium. The ships concerned, tied to dock in British and Ameri- 
can ports, were now seized. Those within the United States were 
operated thereafter by the Shipping Board, and since the Dutch 
had not been a voluntary part to the seizure the provocation given 
thereby to Germany was softened. They were taken subject to 
compensation to the Dutch owners for hire and damage, and the 
transaction was justified under an old principle of international 
law, the right ofangaria, whereby in time of war a nation may turn 
to its own use such of the physical property of neutrals as may be 
within its jurisdiction. The Dutch Government complained 
loudly of the seizure, largely for the German ear. The owners were 
fully compensated, even for damage done by Germans which 
Germany would have been unlikely to reimburse. Even the insur- 
ance liabilities for the dispossessed Dutch crews, under Dutch law, 
were assumed by the Shipping Board. 

The bookkeeping by which an American merchant fleet was 
put on paper counted as part of the fleet the ships not yet com- 
pleted, those of the enemy, those taken under angaria, and also 
those requisitioned from private American operators and placed 
at the control of the Shipping Board. In October all American 
ships of over twenty-five hundred tons, fit for use, were taken over 
for the account of the Emergency Fleet, to be operated under char- 
ters by the owners. Even a few steamers from the Great Lakes 
runs, ore boats and grain boats, too long to pass the locks of the 
Welland Canal, were cut in two, brought through in halves, re- 
united, and sent to sea. 

Beginning in April with 'three small rented rooms, 5 the Emer- 
gency Fleet Corporation had within a year a score of buildings in 
Washington alone. In June, 1918, the Army Quartermaster moved 
two hundred truckloads of office material and the personal equip- 
ment of the twenty-four hundred central office employees to new 


working space in Philadelphia, where there was room to grow. 
But as yet it had chiefly a paper fleet, without adding many tons 
to the available supply of ships. 

The real task of the Emergency Fleet was to enlarge this supply, 
and upon this problem Denman and Goethals had concentrated 
before they parted. To add the fifteen million tons their program 
called for (seventeen hundred steel ships, one thousand wood) they 
must build an industry up from vacant lots, get steel from the mine 
and lumber from the forest, find labor where they could, and let then- 
contracts to men whose pre-war business had been something else 
than building ships. The chief novelty of the program, beyond a 
few fantastic experimental types, was the designing of a 'fabricated' 
steel ship a standard vessel whose parts need not be built upon 
the ways in crowded yards, but could be manufactured to specifi- 
cations anywhere in the United States and put together at tide- 
water. Weeks ran to months before the designers could agree upon 
shape, type, and engines for the standard ships, so that the specifi- 
cations and blueprints could go to fabricating plants. A straight- 
line, flat-plate ship, largely the design of Theodore Ferris, set a new 
type of which the seven seas knew nothing. It was not good enough 
to survive the war in competition with vessels more deliberately 
put together, but it was capable of freight service and could be con- 
structed quickly. 

While wooden shipyards were budding on Southern and Western 
waterfronts the Emergency Fleet Corporation prepared the 
assembly yards for the new steel ships. Under its contracts, at 
Wilmington, North Carolina, at Newark, New Jersey, at Bristol, 
Pennsylvania, and on the unoccupied mud flats of the Delaware 
River below Philadelphia which the early settlers called Hog 
Island, ninety-four new shipways were built. Fifty of these were at 
Hog Island alone. The Shipping Board had its vision of a con- 
tinuous stream of bottoms slipping into the water, if only the war 
should last long enough for the builders to get into their stride. 
The engineering and human difficulties of building the yards 
through a hard winter made them costly. But the Hog Island yard, 
out of a contract let September 13, 1917, laid its first keel five 


months later, February 12, 1918. It had eighty miles of new rail- 
road track to serve its two hundred and fifty buildings, and 
through its telephone central passed the calls of a c city of 140,000' 
people. Before the peace stopped its operation, it was laying six 
keels a week. Yet it did not launch its first ship, the Quistconk, 
until August 5, or deliver it until December 3, 1918, the day before 
Wilson sailed for Paris to make a peace. Much was made of the 
fact that from the several American yards nearly one hundred 
ships were launched simultaneously on July 4, 1918; but few of 
these carried cargoes to help win the war. As an heroic effort to 
create an industry, the shipping venture was a great success, 
expensive as it was; but had the war waited to be won by these 
ships it must have lasted longer. The intriguing melody of George 
Cohan's 'Over There, 5 sung when the Costigan, first of the Newark 
brood and named by Cohan for his grandfather, took the water, 
had little reference to the matter in hand. By this time the 'Yanks' 
were indeed coming, but in other bottoms. 

But the hand of the United States had been laid upon what 
shipping there was, or what might come into being, and the 
Shipping Board was soon forced to determine upon what principle 
to operate the fleet so as to conserve tonnage and help win the war. 
Its experiments with the chartering of ships, whether its own or 
those of neutrals that could be hired, built up experience. It 
worked in co-operation with the War Department, as principal 
shipper, and with the British agencies of ship control. Early in 
1918 it brought into command of its Shipping Control Committee 
the president of the International Mercantile Marine Company, 
P. A. S. Franklin, and gave him a free hand. Franklin worked for 
a 'liquid fleet' one whose units should be detached from exclu- 
sive control by any single agency of the Government and, being 
pooled, should be available as needed. This was what the Car 
Service Bureau of the Interstate Commerce Commission was trying 
to do with railroad rolling stock. The Shipping Control Commit- 
tee attacked the 'turn around' as the weak spot in the use of ships, 
for vessels lay too long in port while waiting for their cargoes. By 
shortening this to half its duration they multiplied their tonnage. 


They studied economical packing, giving weight to stowage factors, 
and cut the time while saving space. In April, 1918, they loaded 
thirty-three locomotives, 'practically ready for steam, 5 into the 
hold of the Feltore; jammed them tight between bales of hay; and 
delivered them at St. Nazaire ready to be lifted bodily from hold to 

In the reorganization of the Shipping Control Committee under 
Franklin a new type of office was set up in Washington, full of 
implication for a future when government should be called upon 
to plan. Professor Edwin F. Gay, economic historian and dean of 
the Graduate School of Business Administration at Harvard, be- 
came director of a Division of Planning and Statistics. In his office 
figures were analyzed, upon which the decisions of Franklin ought 
to be made. Independent development based upon enthusiastic 
effort had gone the limit, and the men responsible for results were 
getting time to think about co-ordinating their efforts. Divisions 
similar to that of Gay made their appearance in departments other 
than the Shipping Board and they interchanged their figures and 
interlocked their effort. They conceived as a goal a work-sheet 
showing program and performance. If they could mar age to get 
the gist of it on a daily sheet for scrutiny at the White House, so 
much the better. Planning to win a war was in a way a simple 
matter, for all knew the nature of the enemy and the common aim. 
Planning to run a government was to be a more complex affair, 
as was later to be seen; for aims are overlapping and inconsistent 
in periods of prosperity and may become murderously antagonistic 
during the dark days of a depression. The economic planners, 
with their wits whetted, never quite left Washington, and never 
forgot the days when war gave them their earliest chance. *Gay 
. . . was our economic mentor,' wrote Hurley; 'the work of 
restricting unessentials and allocating ships was centered in a 
single body/ 

All tasks in the preparation of the war machine were interlocked, 
as the Emergency Fleet Corporation learned while pushing the 
construction of its new yards, and as every maker of munitions 
discovered as he speeded up Ms plant. The working gangs were 


assembled with difficulty, and to the Draft Boards it had to be 
made clear how important it was to leave key workers on their 
jobs. Every enlistment and every draft took potential workers from 
the labor market at a moment when the market needed more 
rather than fewer. The Four-Minute Men were put to the task of 
drumming up industrial recruits. Girls began to slip into the jobs 
their brothers vacated; some of them even into overalls beside the 
lathes. But when workers reported to new factories and yards they 
found no beds. Housing was none too good in well-established 
industrial communities. Around the new projects there were no 
dwellings for executives, no small houses for workmen, no board- 
ing-houses and restaurants, no garages. And to this problem the 
Council of National Defense turned its attention early in the 
spring of 1917. It foresaw housing scarcity, and that the hiring of 
labor to build residences for war workers would add still another 
difficulty to the task of getting men to work. 

Conceiving it as a welfare matter, and before the several pro- 
duction establishments had created their own housing sections, the 
Council of National Defense had a sub-committee studying the 
problem before the end of June. It held open hearings in October 
to prove by figures how greatly war work was being held up by lack 
of housing; and it recommended to the Government action on a 
scale larger than it could start itself. The Department of Labor, 
through a new bureau under Otto Eidlitz, took charge in Febru- 
ary, 1918. As the various appropriation bills came along, funds 
were allotted for industrial housing and transportation work. 

The Fleet Corporation was allowed ninety-five millions for this 
before the spring was gone. It had twelve thousand workmen to 
crowd into Bristol alone. It was soon drafting a program to house 
56,296 of its workers with their families near its various plants, and 
it included in this scheme 8774 dwellings and nearly one thousand 
apartments, not to mention dormitories, cafeterias, and stores. 

New snarls in the law and new concepts of public policy came to 
view with reference to the taxation of this sort of Government 
property; for each new venture placed a burden upon the com- 
munity near which it was erected. There were streets to be built, 


and schools; and police and fire protection must be provided. 
Yet Government property, as such, was untaxable by local 
authority, and if left untaxable the cost of serving it might smother 
the community concerned. In July, 1918., the Secretary of Labor 
was allowed to incorporate in New York a Housing Corporation in 
which as agent for the Government he held the whole of its hun- 
dred million of stock. Red tape was cut again, and the corporation 
as a tool of government took on a larger significance. New houses 
called for new designs, new city plans, new architectural and 
engineering efforts by the United States, as well as new standards 
of living for the working folk. Before peace rang the bell another 
field for public planning had been reconnoitered. 

Before Denman and Goethals had explored the woodenness of 
boards, and before experience with Liberty Loan and registration 
and the Red Cross drive had demonstrated that public opinion 
was abundantly able to enforce itself, the solvency of Lloyd 
George's formula to win the war had been challenged from 
another quarter. Herbert Hoover had come into the picture. 
Acting in front of the vast prestige of the Commission for Relief in 
Belgium, a prestige too great to be forgiven when the Post Office 
delivered to him a letter addressed to 'Miracle Man, Washington/ 
he demanded calories as the first of the munitions. 'Food will win 
the war 3 became a slogan. It had a drive whose force was equal to 
that for ships, and one whose consequences pushed farther down 
to the grass roots. Ships could be built only by captains of industry, 
with huge yards and plants, vast capital resources, and throngs of 
workmen. But every citizen could appreciate the need for food and 
do his bit. Wherever he was he could do it: whether at the break- 
fast table with bran muffins and a trifling pat of butter, or in his 
garden as he nursed a potato patch, or on a local committee of the 
Food Administration, explaining and exhorting, or in the mails, 
writing his congressman to let the food bill pass. 

It was service of a sort for the Treasury to lend the Allies cash to 
pay for what they needed to buy in the United States. It was 
another to hurry ships to carry the necessities to Europe. But at 
the bottom, the food must be raised, the right sorts saved and 


shipped, and the rest eaten with patriotic zest. Spinach and 
cabbage, as they appeared at dinner, could be made into symbols 
of patriotic co-operation. 'Wheatless' and 'meatless' days tested 

The President had anticipated that Hoover should do what 
must be done about food and that the Department of Agriculture, 
instead of being expanded into a war administration, should stick 
largely to its peace-time activities. He had called Hoover home 
even before the declaration and named him commissioner in 
charge of a voluntary body on May 19, since Congress was not 
ready for immediate action upon a food bill. Hoover accepted c on 
the condition that he is to receive no payment for his services and 
that the whole of the force under him, exclusive of clerical assist- 
ance, shall be employed as far as possible upon the same volunteer 
basis.' Three days later, Lever presented to the House a bill that 
was described as an Administration measure to encourage agri- 
culture and to regulate the marketing of food and other necessaries. 

Hoover gathered about him a staff recruited from among the 
men who came back with him from Belgium, from the agricultural 
colleges, and from where he could find them, and set about to 
make the United States food-conscious. In the absence of legal 
authority it was for nearly three months a matter of advertising, 
the only addition to the power of the Government being in the 
control of exports attached to the Espionage Act. The Allies buy- 
ing food with part of the loans extended through the Treasury 
were willing to act in co-operation with him, law or no law. A 
fear of rising prices, injurious to both war finance and to the 
standard of living, was one of the chief reasons for an effective food 
control. The matters to be impressed upon the public mind were 
the need of the Allied countries for huge food exports from the 
United States, the necessity upon the people to increase the yield 
of crops, the importance of consuming at home the food unsuitable 
for shipment, and the iniquity of profiteering. Even the Commis- 
sioner of Indian Affairs was brought into the campaign, advising 
his wards 'that the careless paring of potatoes' was wasteful and 
that 'every spoonful of left-over gravy can be used in soups. 5 And 


the Bureau of Fisheries was Inspired to advocate c the use of the 
meat of whales, porpoises, and dolphins . . . for food. 3 

The rapid progress in organizing the localities made it possible 
to use the State councils of defense and the Woman's Committees 
under the Council of National Defense in spreading the food mes- 
sage. The Official Bulletin, at the end of June, made public a circu- 
lar from Anna Howard Shaw, as chairman of the Woman's Com- 
mittee, advising the local groups: 'If you have not already extended 
the organization of your State to the counties, cities, and towns, 
will you undertake to do so at once? 3 she asked. She advised a 
house-to-house canvass to secure signatures to food pledges, and 
the posting in front windows of a sign to indicate compliance. 
The Blue Eagle of N.R.A. in 1933 had a technique already com- 
pletely worked out before it left the egg. Hoover issued bulletins 
preaching the 'Gospel of the clean plate' and warning that 'full 
garbage pails' mean 'empty dinner pails.' More fruit and vege- 
tables, he urged, less wheat, meat, milk, fats, sugar, and fuel. 5 

In sober vein the Food Commissioner addressed the President 
on July 10 'with regard to wheat.' He believed that his conserva- 
tion measures were taking hold and that they had saved for ex- 
port some eighty million bushels that would ordinarily have been 
eaten in the United States. He was alarmed, however, at the 
prospect of only 678,000,000 bushels in the 1917 harvest and 
others were distressed at labor troubles in the wheat harvest and 
found there aground for deep suspicion of the loyalty of the I.W.W. 
Should the American diet not be checked, Americans would con- 
sume all but seventy-eight millions of the new harvest. If they had 
saved the eighty, these, with the seventy-eight, would make only 
158,000,000 bushels, too little for the export need. The harvest 
had been bad in 1916, leaving less than a normal carry-over. It 
was 'absolutely vital' to stimulate an enlarged planting for 1918 
and at the same time to insure the farmer who broke new ground 
for wheat against a slump in price in case there should be a glut. 
It was as important to keep the crop out of the hands of specula- 
tors. But Hoover had no powers. 'We ar practically helpless to 
safeguard either the farmer or the consumer until the pending 


legislation is passed. 5 Congress was genuinely busy, but it had 
many doubts to overcome before it was willing to ask the free 
American farmer to accept regimentation. 

With the Espionage Act out of the way, the House Committee 
on Agriculture, of which Asbury F. Lever of South Carolina was 
chairman, was free to claim the attention of Congress. The com- 
mittee had received Lever's own proposal and had worked out of 
it and other proposals and the testimony given at its hearings a 
bill for food control. The House settled down to consider this 
June 1 8. *In the short space of a few months/ said Lever, opening 
the debate, c the foundation of a great army has been laid, the 
expenditure of $7,000,000,000 has been authorized, and the 
machinery for the mobilization of this stupendous sum is well 

under way That a democracy can be organized ... is being 

demonstrated.' His bill proposed to erect c a governmental control 
of necessaries which shall extend to and include all the processes, 
methods, activities of, and for the production, manufacture, pro- 
curement, storage, distribution, sale, marketing, pledging, financ- 
ing, and consumption of necessaries, which shall be exercised and 
administered by the President.' It was hardly necessary for the bill 
to have gone further, though it did to the extent of twenty-one 
sections. In this one sentence lay a grant of power unknown to 
American experience and so generous as to need no elaboration. 
The other sections were admittedly no more than explanatory and 
designed to limit the exercise of the powers to the period of the 
war with Germany and one year thereafter. 'To delay,' said 
Lever, 'is but to stay temporarily the day of wrath. . . . The wrath 
... is not going to be appeased by the screams and squalls about 
conferring autocratic powers upon the President.' 

Lever was no sooner back in his seat than another Democratic 
member, Young of Texas, was on his feet to challenge the whole 
proposal and to denounce a dictatorship c that will go to the remot- 
est precincts . . . And take charge of the little, humble farmer who 
is seeking to eke out an existence for himself and his hungry 
children. 5 And the parliamentary fight was on. 

It was not a long fight so far as the House was concerned. With 


its representation based on population, and giving full weight to 
urban and Eastern groups, it was easier for the House to rule the 
farmer than for the Senate, which received the bill six days later. 
Through these six days the Representatives talked about shortage 
and price, about constitutionality and the sins of profiteers and 
the war powers of the President; but they did not fundamentally 
change the grant. The term 'necessaries' was indeed brought 
down to earth by the enumeration of the chief commodities con- 
cerned; and a prohibition of the use of food for the manufacture of 
alcoholic liquors was accepted. But the measure passed the House 
by a vote of 365 to 5. Few were prepared to test the reality of the 
'day of wrath. 5 

The Senate received the Lever Bill from the Committee on 
Agriculture and Forestry on June 25, and three days later entered 
a debate that ran intermittently for twenty-four days. Chamber- 
lain of Oregon had it in hand, hurrying it as best he could, but 
even with the possibility of a cloture at his hand he could neither 
expedite action nor prevent fundamental amendment. He used 
the threat of cloture, in order to force on July 10 a unanimous- 
consent agreement that the Senate should vote on July 21. He 
could do no more. The fiscal year ended and a new year began, 
there was inconvenience for the Administration and uncertainty 
for the people, an abnormal share of the wheat crop was held on 
the farm in hope of higher prices; but the Senate could not be 
hurried. Most of the matters that Senators talked about were 
worth discussing, peace or war, but the delay was heart-breaking 
to those with an immediate responsibility for victory. The urban 
East was content with regulation and fearful of rise in prices. 
The farmer West and South wanted the farmer to get his price, 
wanted no regulation unless it be applied to industry as well as to 
agriculture, feared a dictator who might restrict freedom and save 
the cities or the Allies at the cost of him who raised the crop. 

The fight against a food dictator brought into the debate the 
personality of the Food Commissioner, who was by common con- 
sent to be designated Food Administrator when the bill should 
pass. This was Herbert Clark Hoover, whose self-made life, out of 


his origin on an Iowa farm, had been the theme of a multitude of 
writers since he first broke into the news in connection with an 
American relief committee in London in 1914. An enthusiastic 
article by Will Irwin, in the Saturday Evening Post,, brought the 
matter to a head. Reed of Missouri, a distinguished jury lawyer 
and a parliamentarian of ingenuity and persistence, found reason 
to dislike Hoover, as he called to the attention of the Senate the 
details of the Food Commissioner's career. What he wanted (and 
the Senate was with him) was to amend the Lever proposal by 
throwing the control of food and fuel into the hands of a commis- 
sion of three instead of leaving it to the discretion of the President, 
which meant Hoover. 

Reed took the floor, on a question of personal privilege, to deny 
the truth of a charge that he was treating Hoover c as if he had 
been up before a police court for stealing chickens in Kansas City 5 ; 
but the testimony of the Congressional Record hardly clears him of 
the bad manners that Senators have too often shown to incon- 
venient outsiders. He sought to discredit Hoover by doubting his 
status as American voter, if not citizen. Johnson of California, 
however, regarded his fellow Californian as c a distinguished world 
figure . . . particularly fitted for the task.' But to Reed, Hoover 
was quite too much of a 'world figure. 5 In the forty-three years 
that Hoover had lived, most of the last twenty had been lived out- 
side the United States. His work as mining operator and pro- 
moter had carried him whither mineral or capital could be found. 
He had a house in London. He had even been talked of as a pos- 
sible cog in the English war machine; and there were some to say 
that had he been a British subject he might have hoped to end his 
days as Sir Herbert. It was nonsense to talk of him as English, but 
it was true that he had no special knowledge of food in advance of 
the studies thrust upon him by the German occupation of Belgium. 
He was, as he admitted, Very much of a stranger in my own 
country, as I have been away since the war began.' The Senate 
added the commission of three as one of its amendments. 

If the farmer felt safer to have the food control vested in a com- 
mission, he was encouraged, too, by Senate insistence upon a price 


for wheat. Hoover, in Belgium, was said to have used his food 
stocks not only to feed the hungry but also to break the speculator. 
He felt free, the story ran, and if true it was to his credit, to 
throw part of the Belgian food back into the market when speculat- 
ing bulls forced it to an artificial rise. He knew as much about 
markets as the speculators did, and was said to have made a tidy 
profit for the Commission for Relief in Belgium out of the transac- 
tions. Fear was in the air that, with control unchecked in his 
hands, he might whittle down the price the farmer received. The 
Senate added another amendment guaranteeing a minimum 
price of two dollars a bushel for 1918 wheat. The price of the 
current crop, that of 1917, was stabilized by the President at $2.20, 
upon recommendation of a commission headed by President Gar- 
field of Williams College. 

Republican Senators were ready to exalt Congress at the expense 
of Wilson, and found Democrats ready to co-operate. Restrained 
by the pressure of their own consfituents from too open obstruction, 
they were yet loath to leave the war in presidential hands. They 
had been quite willing to let the last Congress expire, March 4, 
with appropriations unvoted, for this made a special session neces- 
sary. Now, through Weeks of Massachusetts, they asked for the 
creation of a committee on the conduct of the war. 

Such a committee as Weeks proposed had watched and bothered 
Lincoln through the Civil War. It had been a joint committee, 
created in December, 1861, and sitting long enough to turn in 
eight great volumes of testimony and report. Benjamin Franklin 
Wade, a fire-eating Republican Senator from Ohio, had directed 
its affairs. Its earnestness in prosecuting the war had been too 
clear to doubt, but its deep fear that Lincoln did not know enough 
to prosecute the war provides full testimony to prove that the fame 
of Lincoln was less than complete while he lived. Wade came to 
know so much more about the war than Lincoln did, and so much 
more about reconstruction, that by the summer of 1864 he led a 
coalition against a too-moderate peace. While Lincoln was candi- 
date for re-election, Wade, in his own party, denounced him for a 
'studied outrage on the legislative authority' and asserted a duty 


to 'check the encroachments of the Executive.' The Committee on 
the Conduct of the War had pretty generally escaped the attention 
of the historians, of even so thorough a student as James Ford 
Rhodes or so charming a writer as Professor Wilson. But Lincoln 
had known how difficult it had made his work, and Wilson as 
President had no doubt about it. It will 'make my task of conduct- 
ing the war practically impossible/ he declared when the Senate 
added the suggestion of Senator Weeks to the Lever Act. The com- 
mittee which it was now proposed to revive had more than the 
support of critical Republicans. There were fifty-three Senators 
who voted aye when the 'joint committee on expenditures in the 
conduct of the war' was added as a rider to the act for food control. 
Five Senators and five Representatives (three to be Democrats in 
each case), constituting the committee, were to keep themselves 
informed, to confer with all departments and voluntary boards, to 
take testimony as needed, and to advise Congress upon 'expendi- 
tures and contracts. 5 

The amended Lever Act, with only six negative votes on its final 
passage in the Senate, went back to the House. It was nearly three 
more weeks before it could become a law. A food-survey bill 
directing the Secretary of Agriculture to make a food census, which 
passed by both houses and was sent to conference earlier in the 
session, was now brought out of conference and offered as a part of 
the food program. The conferees on the Lever Act wrestled with 
the Senate amendments until the House members of the conference 
committee had their way and forced the adoption of a report from 
which had been stricken both the commission to have charge of 
food and the joint committee to watch expenditures. But this took 
time. When the report came back in August, the House accepted 
it without a recorded W; it passed the Senate with but an ill- 
assorted seven voting in the negative: France, Gronna, Hardwick, 
Hollis, La Follette, Penrose, and Reed. The dissenters were acri- 
monious as they protested the necessity to accept the bill, leading 
Oscar S. Straus, Republican though he was, to declare that there 
was 'no politics in this country now except on Capitol Hill.' 

Signed by the President on August 10, 1917, the Lever Act gave 


him authority to erect controls over foods, feeds, fuel, and fertiliz- 
ers, and the machinery and equipment for producing them. It 
prohibited the use of food in the manufacture of c distilled spirits 
for beverage purposes/ and authorized the President to forbid such 
use for c malt or vinous liquors.' It fixed the base price for the 1918 
wheat crop at two dollars a bushel and empowered the President 
to set in advance a minimum price for succeeding years. 

There was no news in the announcement coming immediately 
from the White House that Herbert Hoover had been appointed 
Food Administrator. His volunteer organization was complete, 
and ready to be regularized with law behind it. He was already in 
agreement with the assistants through whom he was to throw an 
additional network of public service across the United States. 
War industries, without specific law, had been reorganized a fort- 
night earlier, and with the new War Industries Board he could set 
up intimate co-operation. A Purchasing Commission for the Allies 
was nearly ready to be launched. Foreign trade, imports, and ex- 
ports were heading into an organization of their own. The Presi- 
dent was in agreement, too, upon the technical method of manag- 
ing wheat, most important of the food commodities. 

Four days after the signature of the Lever Act an executive order 
directed the incorporation in Delaware of a fifty-million-dollar 
structure, to be known as the United States Food Administration 
Grain Corporation. Under the presidency and direction of Julius 
H. Barnes the business of the Grain Corporation was to build up 
stocks of grain, to facilitate the export of flour, and to stabilize the 
price. When the time came to fix the price for the 1919 harvest, 
the Grain Corporation did not do it, or Hoover, although the latter 
received the odium of it when it proved unpopular. The President 
entrusted it to a special group selected for the purpose. A corpora- 
tion similar to the Grain Corporation, and also subsidiary to the 
Food Administration, was created in 1918 to buy, hold, and allo- 
cate raw and refined sugar, under the name of the Sugar Equaliza- 
tion Board. By this time Government-owned corporations were so 
common as to attract no considerable attention. 

Part of the mandate of the Lever Act dealt with fuel, which was 


described in some detail. Coal and oil, produced under conditions 
far different from those of agriculture and having different con- 
nections with labor, capital, and transportation, were not suitable 
for handling in the Food Administration, even if the work of that 
body were not already as complex as one man could hope to 
master. The Council of National Defense had in the spring gone 
farther than the law allowed in the effort to stabilize the price of 
coal. Here was a commodity in which price was closely connected 
with volume of production. The coal deposits, whether hard or 
soft, range from great veins of high-grade fuel cheaply mined to thin 
and inaccessible deposits of low-grade coal. The normal price, set 
by normal consumption, always kept low-grade mines out of 
production. Yet these inferior mines could be worked if the output 
could be sold. The anti-trust laws had made it difficult if not im- 
possible for the coal companies to adjust production to demand, 
and there were not, when the war began, adequate figures to indi- 
cate the rate at which coal moved to mine mouth and was shipped 
to market. The Federal Trade Commission, set to many studies of 
price in connection with war supply, had been assigned coal as a 
subject for investigation. The Lever Act vested in the President 
power to fix a price that would bring coal into the market. He did 
this in August, and followed the action by erecting a Fuel Adminis- 
tration parallel to the Food Administration on August 23. Harry 
A. Garfield, son of a former President of the United States, and 
President of Williams College, was made Fuel Administrator. And 
oil, as a type of fuel requiring special treatment, became the busi- 
ness of a new division of the Fuel Administration under Mark L. 
Requa in January, 1918. Petroleum products had become one of 
the most important of the munitions of war. 

In the closing stages of the debate over the Food Administration 
it was an added argument for a one-man direction that the division 
of authority in shipbuilding had broken down. The clash of per- 
sonalities between Denman and Goethals brought about the 
elimination of both. On the very day that the Lever Act went to 
conference, Hurley was placed in full authority over Shipping 
Board and Fleet Corporation. What Goethals thought of boards 


was true, when there was work to do; and for the next eight months 
the trend of war work was in the direction of assignment of key 
tasks to powerful personalities^ each 3 under the President, in 
charge of his own job, and with boards and committees mostly 
engaged in clearing the ground so that their chiefs could act. 



Jl HE Baltic Society, one of the most exclusive organizations of 
military reminiscence, one that differs from the Cincinnati or the 
Aztecs, which took shape when the job was done, still holds its 
occasional reunions. Its membership is limited to the little group, 
fifty-nine officers and twice as many more field clerks and enlisted 
men, who sailed as inconspicuously as possible on the White Star 
Baltic, May 28, 1917, headed for London, Paris, and the uncertain 
future. Those who were to be its members sailed not too perfectly 
disguised as civilians. In London they put on their uniforms, in- 
cluding the side arms that had nearly disappeared from the 
Western Front. They were so far behind the times that they had as 
yet no Sam Browne belts. They had no army, and hardly a pro- 
mise of one. Yet when they paused in England to be received by 
royalty, and crossed to Boulogne where the welcoming French 
tongue wrestled with what sounded most like Tuerchigne,' they 
were hailed as though they were a host. 

The major-general in command of the American Expeditionary 
Forces had a more intimate experience with troops in the field 
than any of his several seniors on the active list of the Army. It is 
interesting to conjecture who would have been in his place if the 
Administration had anticipated the full dimensions to which his 
military adventure would grow. Perhaps it would still have been 
John J. Pershing, for the only other major-general flexible enough 
to be considered was Leonard Wood. But Wood had himself 
destroyed the possibility that Wilson could work happily through 
him. Pershing, indeed, did not desire him to come to France in 
even a subordinate command. Baker thought he had been Very 
indiscreet 5 ; the President thought him, in spite of great attain- 


ments, a trouble-maker. Wood stayed at home, bitterly disap- 
pointed, to have Hermann Hagedorn, fighting friend of both him 
and Roosevelt, record his great services to the army Pershing led, 
in Leonard Wood: A Biography (1931). 

But that army was non-existent when Pershing arrived in 
France; and the best military opinion, whether behind him or 
at the front, did not see any way in which a considerable army 
(conceding that the United States was competent to assemble it) 
could ever be transported. The English and French Missions had 
not even suggested a co-operation in which American troops 
should play a large part. Later, when the A.E.F. had become a 
fact, some of their leaders imagined that they had expected it 
from the first, and had counted on it. Joffre had desired marching 
units, to display the flag to doubting Frenchmen. Pershing was 
followed by these. Their first regiments, under the immediate 
command of William L. Sibert, an engineer officer who had done 
well at Panama, began to disembark on June 26. Their landfall 
was at the mouth of the River Loire, at St. Nazaire. The appear- 
ance of a few of them in Paris on Independence Day was an emo- 
tional success. Already tentative names were preparing for them, 
for poilu, Boche^ and Tommy were convenient short cuts to a new 
vocabulary. 'Sammies' was tried, perhaps from a free rendering of 
les amies, perhaps a derivative from Uncle Sam, but only 'Yanks 5 
stuck, after George Cohan set the word to music. 

There is nothing in the prosaic but enlightening pages of My 
Experiences in the World War (1931) to indicate that the commander 
of the A.E.F. believed in fairies; but within a few days of his 
arrival at his headquarters in the Rue Constantine Pershing had 
convinced himself that he was to command a fighting army and 
win the war if it should last long enough to be won. There was 
doubt of this. The Missions had not revealed all that he now 
learned in Paris: the collapse of the Nivelle drive, the mutinous 
weariness of some of the French divisions, the exhaustion of man- 
power, and the prevalence of defensive tactics in both French and 
British armies. They were holding on; none could guess how long. 
Pershing built his policy upon the assumption incapable of 


proof today, but not proved wrong that the Allies were bank- 
rupt in a military sense. They might postpone exhaustion or 
defeat, but in his judgment they were too tired to win, and the 
long necessity for economical defense had destroyed the capacity 
of either high command to turn the armies out of the trenches and 
by military maneuver destroy the power of the enemy. 

It was his mission, as he saw it in the intervals between state 
entertainments, to prepare to receive and operate an army; an 
army large enough for its weight to turn the tide, an army trained 
for other than trench warfare and not exhausted or blunted by a 
long defense, an army that could win the war only by keeping its 
method and its morale apart from anything he found in France. 
This was an army that none but he anticipated, and only a capac- 
ity to believe in fairies could have let him believe in it. But he 
formulated the idea, stuck to it through thick and thin, and being 
a stubborn man had his way to the extent that the Allies gave lip 
service to the project. Three weeks after his arrival in Paris he 
upset the forecasts of Washington by a calm notification that his 
requisitions would begin with the requirements of his first million 
men, with additional millions to follow as needed and with the 
first million to be ready to take the field within a year. His training 
directions contained the mandate that *all instruction must con- 
template the assumption of a vigorous offensive.' While Washing- 
ton gasped at his determination to make up the mind of the War 
Department, the Allies gasped at his inquiry where he should 
begin and at what spot along the front he should prepare to 
launch his non-existent army. 

His orders warranted his assumption, although there is still 
some mystery about the drafting of a paragraph that read as 
though someone at home had anticipated his conclusion. James 
G. Harbord, his chief of staff, doubts whether he ever read it, and 
has told much of the story sensibly in The American Army in France, 
1917-1919 (1936); but the words were there. Pershing, while in 
Washington picking his associates and making preliminary 
arrangements, had among other things foreseen the necessity for 
orders to himself. He had them drafted. Tasker H. Bliss, then 


acting Chief of Staff in the absence of Hugh Scott who was with 
the Mission in Russia, signed where he was told, for no one desired 
to obstruct the commander. Baker had not heard of this, yet he 
had the same idea and confided to Brigadier-General Francis J. 
Kernan the duty of drafting an order for the A.E.F. Kernan dis- 
carded the suggestion filed in a memorandum by Hoover recom- 
mending that Americans going to France should go simply as 
c man-pow T er. 3 He made some study of the problems of earlier 
expeditionary forces, recalled the way in which the armies sent to 
the relief of Peking had wrestled with the question of command, 
and was aware that each of the Missions then in Washington 
wished there were some way in which American manhood might 
fill the gaps in its own battalions. As a safeguard against seizure, 
rather than as a chart for combat, Kernan penned the words: 

In military operations against the Imperial German Government 
you are directed to co-operate with the forces of the other countries 
employed against that enemy: but in so doing the underlying idea 
must be kept in view that the forces of the United States are a dis- 
tinct and separate component of the combined forces, the identity 
of which must be preserved. 

As Pershing said farewell to the Secretary, with the orders he 
had himself prepared properly approved by the Chief of Staff, 
Baker surprised him with the other set, bearing an endorsement of 
the President, and ranking into oblivion his own. It was as well 
that it should be thus, for Pershing had been less explicit than 
Kernan. But the fundamental relationship was hardly embodied 
in either of the drafts. It was contained in what Baker later told 
his biographer, Frederick Palmer. C I said . . . that I would . . . 
give him only two orders, one to go to France and the other to 
come home. ... If you make good, the people will forgive almost 
any mistake. If you do not make good, they will probably hang us 
both from the first lamppost they can find.' 

The demand for an American front was annoying to the military 
authorities of both France and England, who wanted no such 
front and who did not believe there would be an army, or, if it 
existed, that it could be trusted. They had seen fighting and 


thought they knew this war. But they were in no position to meet 
the demand with blunt refusal, for already the action of Congress 
had insured a steady flow of those supplies which they expected 
were to be the real American reinforcement. They could not dam 
good-will by refusing to tolerate what, after all, was unlikely to 
happen. They discussed the front. 

It was by a sharp and obvious course of elimination that the 
front was found. Ever since the first battle of the Marne in 1914 
marked the failure of the German plan to rush France off its feet, 
the trenches of the Western Front had stretched unbroken from an 
anchorage at the Swiss border to a point some 466 miles away, on 
the Strait of Dover midway between Calais and Ostend. The 
chain of trenches had been often deflected, swinging a little either 
way, but it had been, unbreakable. From the Swiss border, run- 
ning west of north to the French fortresses around Verdun, it lay 
close to the pre-war boundaries of France and Germany. This 
was a region made nearly impassable for large armies by act of 
nature, and impregnably fortified since the Franco-Prussian War 
by the hand of man. The war had not been fought here. 

West of Verdun the trenches cut across the roads leading into 
France, the lines of invasion and attack used by armies since the 
days of Rome. To get an easier terrain than that of the Franco- 
German frontier, Germany violated Belgian neutrality. The Im- 
perial armies entered France in 1914 north of the Belgian High- 
lands (unfriendly to large-scale operations) and followed the more 
moderate grades between the Meuse and the Somme. Nivelle's 
drive failed to break the German line in 1917, as Germany had 
failed to break the French at Verdun in 1916; the English, nearer 
the Channel, had advanced and fallen back with the tides of 
battle; and no unit on this front could sleep in certainty that 
attack was not impending. 

The English forces, by obvious right, held the end of the Western 
Front next the Strait. By this route might come an attempt to in- 
vade England, which Britain must always be in a position to fore- 
stall. Here, too, the services of an army from an English base ran 
over the shortest routes. The Channel had been kept swept clear 

"\ KUt,Htu.t,fr jyr, \ / 

LA PALLICEl8^IG8.EF.Eyii ; l 3 fr y 








Map drawn from Pershing, Final Report (1919), Plate 8 


of mines, and pretty free of submarines, and was still a highway of 
the Allies. It was so certain that England could not surrender 
any part of this sector to Pershing that it was not even asked. 

East of its junction with the British right lay the French left, 
with such acute problems of liaison brought to a focus at the place 
of meeting as to give to this word a new definition and a new im- 
portance in the English tongue. The soldiers of the two great 
Allies did not always fraternize easily; their officers were often 
embarrassed by difference in language, temperament, and point 
of view. Wherever the weld was at the moment, there was the 
weak spot on the line. This was somewhere above Amiens, near 
the basin of the Somme, and east of this the French armies guarded 
the roads into Paris. It was unthinkable that this position of im- 
portance and sentiment should be entrusted to an ambitious new 
general with an untried army. 

By elimination, the American front was pushed to the east of 
Verdun, where war was expected to be quiescent, where an army 
as incompetent as the A.E.F. was expected to be, if it should be at 
all, could do no damage too bad to be repaired before it wrecked 
the enterprise. By a quaint coincidence this sector may have 
been the one portion of the front of which some of the American 
officers had a detailed knowledge. It is said that in the Var 
games' played at Leavenworth, and in the Army War College, 
the only good military maps that could be procured for purposes 
of instruction were maps of the Toul sector. Here Pershing was 
permitted to aspire to independent operations. 

Acting relentlessly upon his own judgment, Pershing accepted 
cheerfully what was offered with reluctance, and published in 
July the basic orders for the concentration and training of an 
army east of Verdun, and for its continuous supply. As obvious as 
the place where he might operate were the conditions of his opera- 
tion. Europe was short of goods. It was never so short as legend 
made it out, but only American prices could tempt supplies into 
the market. It was accepted in the undertaking that the A.E.F. 
must fetch its own supplies. The railroads north of Paris were too 
vital to the French war to be clogged by these, or by the troops to 


use them. Both must find entry Into France by lines running to 
the south of Paris and through ports not already working to a full 
capacity with English business. 

But France is so organized that Paris is the heart and head. All 
of the great railroad systems radiate from the capital of the 
country to the borders. There did not exist any main lines of rail- 
road running where the Americans and their supplies must travel. 
There were local and branch lines over which it was physically 
possible to move trains from Brest and seaports farther south to the 
Toul sector: but none was equipped for heavy through service, 
none could carry the locomotives and rolling stock that the A.E.F. 
must bring to France to move its goods. 

The ports themselves, south of Brest, had been allowed to fall 
behind as French commerce concentrated at Marseilles or in the 
Channel ports. St. Nazaire, La Pallice, and Bordeaux were ill- 
equipped to carry modern traffic, but they were at least available 
for use, not being underfoot. The Toul sector was nearly as remote 
from the seacoast as Louisville is from Washington, and to bring 
reality to Pershing's dream of c a distinct and separate component' 
there was work to be done along every mile of the intervening 
country. The call went home for engineer regiments, railroad 
regiments, forestry regiments: not as yet for men to fight, but for 
technicians to get ready for men to fight. The cables were soon 
crowded with requisitions, not always harmonious, but all In- 
dicative of a scheme of activity that Washington had not antici- 
pated. There were harbors to be dredged, docks to be built, piles 
to be cut to build the docks, unloading cranes, dredges, freight 
yards, storage sheds, refrigeration plants, and all the equipment to 
be provided without which a million Americans, not to mention 
the second or third million, could not operate. Frederick Palmer, 
seasoned as a war correspondent and wise beyond most, crossed 
with Pershing on the Baltic. Here he renewed an acquaintance as 
old as the Russo-Japanese War, in which he had been a reporter 
while Pershing was a military observer. He was soon in uniform 
and a colonel, and mouthpiece for G.H.Q., which came to be 
heard of as 'somewhere in France.* He reversed his mechanisms 


of a journalist to become something of a military censor, learned 
what not to tell, dealt with visitors (for he knew everyone) and 
guided their footsteps, and wrote of the vision while memory was 
fresh. The story has not been better saved than in his America in 
France (1918), and Our Greatest Battle (1919)- with war over > he 
turned to more deliberate things as he arranged the papers of the 
Secretary of War in Newton D. Baker, America at War (1931). 

With the keen eye of the reporter, Palmer saw not only what 
was in building, but in what the character of the preparation for 
the A.E.F. differed from French ways of doing things. There were 
many miles of land travel before any American could be floated; 
the first contingent averaged 2392 miles per man. There were 
three thousand miles of ocean and after this a journey. All other 
American armies, operating in the field, and drawing their supplies 
out of the War Department, had learned to hate the bureaus in 
Washington. Pershing's orders set up an equivalent for the War 
Department under his own command in France. He could not 
control actions in the United States, but he managed to maintain 
his authority once men and supplies had been landed in Europe. 

Kernan was before long made chief of what was called the Line 
of Communications, which was a heavy responsibility after the 
goal had been set of ninety days' supply in France (forty-five days 5 
at the base, thirty at intermediate stations, fifteen in the hands of 
the fighting army at the very front) . The War Department hunted 
for a railroad man to manage the specialized activities of the lines 
between the ports and the front, and found one in a vice-president 
of the Pennsylvania Railroad, William Wallace Atterbury, who 
was given rank as a general. Atterbury was not the man Pershing 
had decided upon, but he was accepted for the sake of peace, and 
soon learned to live in the Army, while the Army eventually be- 
came aware of his unusual capacity. Out of one of the engineer 
regiments Pershing picked an old Nebraska friend, Charles G. 
Dawes, made of him as unmilitary a brigadier-general as ever was, 
and used him as buyer in the Army and as financial negotiator 
with the Allied supply services. And Dawes found in war-starved 
France so much of value that A.E.F. funds could bring to market 


that he nearly cut In two the freight that the crowded sea lanes 
would otherwise have had to carry. 

The first plan for the organization of the A.E.F. was drawn up in 
Paris in July. But Pershing had no intention of staying in Paris, He 
accepted the Toul sector, prospected the region, received assign- 
ment of the barracks in a garrison town in eastern France, Chau- 
mont, and on September i he moved his G.H.Q. thither. There- 
after until the end of the war his place of residence was hardly 
named in the United States. Much of the time he was personally 
on the move in his general's special train or in his motor car. But 
the name of Ghaumont was the kind of military secret that was 
kept secret from everyone except all Europe and the enemy. The 
initial force of about 143500 men grew gradually, less than a thou- 
sand men a day, and in nine months still had too few men trained 
to arms to matter. But the technical troops kept at their work of 
building the matrix for an army as though their commander ex- 
pected the Allies to hold the line until he and it were ready; and 
the Allies kept nagging at his idea that he was to have and lead an 
army. The 'black spot' of the American reinforcement, Clemen- 
ceau thought and said was 'the fanatical determination of the great 
chiefs of the American army to delay the arrival of the Star- 
Spangled Banner on the battlefield. 5 Had Germany won the war, 
Pershing's vision would have made him the scapegoat of the 
military historian. 

It was on September I that G.H.Q; was moved to Chaumont, 
in the heart of what was to be the training and operations area for 
the A.E.F. This was five months after American entry; but it was 
four days before the first of the young men selected for the National 
Army were due to report to camp to begin their study of the duties 
of the soldier. The War Department had received and read, with- 
out entirely grasping its implication, the bombardment of cables 
and dispatches in which Pershing had sent home tables for this and 
specifications for that. It was quite as much as it could manage to 
expand rapidly enough to carry the load of the Regular Army and 
the National Guard, as these grew by enlistment. 

No military personality, with a drive equal to that of John J. 


Pershing, had yet appeared to bring Into order the chaos of the 
War Department. Scott and Bliss, who in turn performed the 
duties of Chief of Staff, were fine old officers. They had shown 
adaptability in understanding the meaning of the change in Army 
theory that was basic in the Root reforms. Since the erection of the 
General Staff and the opening of the Army War College, profes- 
sional study had become the channel to military advancement. 
But many of the older officers, too stiff to change (some of them too 
fat to ride a horse, as Theodore Roosevelt had discovered) , had 
resisted the new order, only to find themselves far from the center 
of things when war came. The younger men, eager for professional 
study, set a new pace. In Army circles they were regarded as self- 
admiring. Since much of their work was done in the schools at 
Fort Leavenworth, the epithet "Leavenworth clique' was attached 
to them by their seniors and by the lazy, who poured too many 
tales of woe into the ears of friendly congressmen for the General 
Staff to have an easy life. The National Guard interests, with 
much State politics in reserve, were equally hostile to the Leaven- 
worth professionals. 

Although the organization of the Army had advanced far from 
its status of 1898, it was still uncertain whether the heads of the 
permanent bureaus of the War Department would be able to run 
the war, or the untested General Staff. The law forced Army pur- 
chases to follow 'channels' different from those the General Staff 
would have liked. The post of Chief of Staff was still so lightly 
regarded that Scott was lent to Root's Russian Mission. Bliss was 
detached in October for other work abroad. The desk was occu- 
pied by an acting Chief of Staff until Pershing reluctantly sent 
back to Washington in 1918 a tested officer, Peyton C. March, son 
of a distinguished lexicographer, organizer of the artillery for the 
A.E.K, and a man with a backbone as rigid as Pershing's own. 

It was not until March took office, March 4, 1918, that Baker 
had the advantage of a military adviser who was part of the new 
adventure and capable of rising with its demands. He spent bis 
time thereafter, he lamented, soothing the souls in Washington 
that March had brusquely bruised. He had continuously to 


mediate between two strong men who served him Pershing, who 
could never forget that it was the chief business of the War Depart- 
ment to meet his every need, and March, who felt that the Chief 
of Staff because he was Chief of Staff had temporary rank superior 
to that of the officers to whom he transmitted the orders of the 
Secretary of War. March took his temporary rank overseriously, 
regarded Pershing as a subordinate to be upheld c as long as we 
kept him in command in France/ acquired grievances against the 
A.E.F., and poured out many of them in The Nation at War (1932). 
But with him the War Department caught its stride. It was still 
stumbling when in September the drafted men were due in camp. 

In Enoch H. Crowder's office, that of the Judge-Advocate- 
General of the Army, the draft provisions of the Selective Service 
Act were born. The General Staff had worked with the idea for 
many months, sending forward memoranda in favor of the only 
principle of recruiting in which military men had confidence; but 
it could not break from the notion that as in the Civil War draft 
the Army itself was the agency to select the men. Crowder, a 
bureau chief, did a truer job, using for the purpose a young captain 
of cavalry, Hugh S: Johnson. Johnson, who took a law degree 
(1916) while on duty at his post in San Francisco, could be used in 
the law department of the Army and was assigned as a judge- 
advocate with Pershing 3 s column. Back from Mexico in February, 
he was shifted to Washington where Crowder worked him hard. 
He had shown himself to be a handy man with Funston at the 
Presidio, caring for the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake 
and fire. He was handy now. His draft became the basis upon 
which the law was written, and he outlined the memorandum 
issued by the President when he signed it. 

The law threw the draft out of Washington and outside the Army 
to be administered by committees of the neighborhood in which 
the draftees lived. This was done partly because centralization in 
Washington would crowd the Capital, which was already too 
crowded. A more compelling motive was that the people should 
select themselves, through registration at their voting places, under 
the eye and understanding of their neighbors. The classification of 


the registration cards was to be carried out in 4557 local boards. 
June 5 was set as the day for registration, with the War Depart- 
ment less nervous than Reed of Missouri, who said, 'Baker, you 
will have the streets of our American cities running with blood on 
Registration Day. 3 

Johnson had cut red tape, too. Before the law was signed, he 
persuaded his immediate chief and talked the public printer into 
the illegal preparation of the millions of forms and questionnaires 
needed for enrollment. When Baker, after signature, took up the 
ways and means of administering the act he could be informed 
that through a courageous breach of discipline it had been ad- 
ministered. The bales of blanks, already printed, were also already 
in the sheriffs' offices throughout the United States, only awaiting 
the organization of the draft boards to be opened and put to use. 

Four days after signing the Selective Service Act, Wilson gave 
Crowder a new desk, reviving the Civil War office of Provost- 
Marshal-General to look after recruiting and enlistment. Crowder 
kept Johnson with him until the episode of registration was passed, 
when the bubbling energy of his junior procured for him a different 
field in which to operate. This was not the combat field which 
Johnson hoped for and intrigued to get and the lack of which he 
bewailed in his Blue Eagle, from Egg to Earth (1935). But on any 
job he helped to make things move. 

The registration on June 5 was more than a step in building an 
army. It was a test of public opinion, proving that obstruction 
was not to add to the difficulties of war administration. In the 
debates over the Selective Service Act, the Civil War experience 
with draft riots was cited to suggest how hard it would be to en- 
force the draft. But the draft, harmonizing with a state of mind 
that was impatient of even vocal opposition to the war, enforced 
itself. The bloodshed anticipated at the registration places did 
not occur. There was some crowding, to get through with it. 
There was some bewilderment, because the forms were too hard 
for many of the boys to understand at first reading. There was 
later some wa'ste motion because of unnecessary medical examina- 
tion of men who would not have been used, whether fit or not. 


General Crowder could state, In his Spirit of the Selective Service 
(1920)5 that 9,586,508 men, over twenty-one but not yet thirty- 
one, filed their blanks. There was no important group that evaded 
because of affection for the enemy. There were few who resisted 
duty because of conscience; and fewer like the Rhodes scholar, 
Haessler, who went the whole way with conscience because to 
accept c "bombproof ' service on my part would give the lie to my 
sincerity.' Out of 2,810,296 men inducted into service, only 3989 
claimed exemption on the ground of 'conscientious objection'; 
and of these only 450 failed to find e some form of service, satis- 
factory to the Government.' Norman Thomas had sympathy for 
them, but in his Conscientious Objector in America (1923) he stated 
that their objection 'created a stir . . . entirely out of proportion to 
the number of objectors.' How many disapproved this war, with- 
out rejecting all war, is beyond proof. But they did not impede the 
operation of the draft. 

The steps in the process of selection advanced in a routine after 
June 5. Once filed, the registration papers went to the draft 
boards, receiving serial numbers in the order of filing. The 
longest list of any board ran to 10,319. When this was known, as 
many numbers were sealed in capsules, mixed in a large bowl, and 
drawn in a careful lottery. On July 20, Baker drew out the capsule 
containing the number 258, giving first place in the order of calling 
to every registration card bearing that number. In a few days 
the checked official lists were in the papers. The calls for men to 
go to camp were apportioned among the States according to popu- 
lation after the number of registrants in each State had been en- 
larged by the addition to it of the number of citizens from each 
State already in military service. Until his serial number, estab- 
lished by the lottery, was called, the registrant remained at liberty 
as yet to anticipate the call and enlist directly. Both Regular 
Army and National Guard were swelled by this free choice, as 
well as the Navy and the Marine Corps. It was contemplated that 
the Regulars should be allowed to grow to 488,000, and the Guard 
to 470,000, and that troops in excess of these numbers should be 
provided through the draft. As it worked out, neither Guard nor 


Regular Army was filled In this fashion, but both were raised to 
final strength by troops transferred to their divisions from the 
National Army camps. The first contingent called to the National 
Army included 687,000 names. 

Selective Service was new to the United States, but it was not 
more novel than the principle of organization which was an- 
nounced in July. Previous wars had generally been fought by 
military units whose titles bore at the moment of entry and of dis- 
charge an ascription to the States of their origin. There had indeed 
been troops of the Continental Line in the Revolution, and of the 
Regular Army in later wars, but most of the fighting men had been 
organized in regiments of the States and State pride had been 
touched by the success of State units. But State grief had been 
aroused when the accident of combat brought into murderous 
action several regiments from a single State with casualty lists that 
wiped them out, appearing back home to indicate an unfair dis- 
tribution of the loss of war. 

The Army weighed the alternatives of localized units supported 
by State pride and interchangeable units trained alike and as 
nearly uniform in quality as facts permitted. It overrode senti- 
ment, searching for efficiency. The new notation accepted the 
division as the unit in place of the regiment. Pershing soon fixed 
the strength of the division at 979 officers and 27,082 enlisted men, 
upsetting thereby the estimates of the War Department, for his 
divisions were twice the size of those of the enemy or of his associ- 
ates. But he gained his point. And back of each fighting division 
he hoped to have at least half its number of officers and men to 
operate the lines of communication and the indispensable services 
of the rear. 

The lowest numbers in the serial of divisions were set aside for 
those to be formed around Regular Army units, distended by en- 
listment or transfer. Sibert's force was organized in France as 
First; the Second was built around other Regulars likewise with 
the A.E.F. It was never practicable to use all of the numbers 
reserved for Regulars. Divisions whose original components were 
National Guard units drafted into the service of the United States 


(and the whole National Guard had been so drafted by August 5) 
began with the Twenty-Sixth. This was composed of New Eng- 
land Guardsmen. Fifteen other divisions, running through the 
numbers to forty-one, received the Guardsmen of the other 
States, each on a regional basis at the start. The first of the divi- 
sions of drafted men, constituting the National Army, was the 
Seventy-Sixth and received registrants from New England. Six- 
teen of these were contemplated in the beginning, but it was under- 
stood that the number would be added to as war might require. 

The State ascription was abandoned, although neither the 
Guard divisions nor those of the National Army ever quite forgot 
the locality of their origin; and their regions continued to claim 
them. Men were transferred and officers were interchanged as the 
War Department worked for uniformity of quality and took ad- 
vantage of transport space. In France some of the divisions were 
assigned to depots. The Forty-First was grounded near Le Mans, 
had 227,000 men pass through its roster, yet never saw the enemy. 
Others retained a considerable degree of individuality until the 
Armistice. But when this came, the handful of Regular officers 
was spread through the whole army, leavening it all, while new- 
comers from civil life swamped the enlisted men who had been 
trained before April, 1917. In August, 1918, the distinctions 
among the divisions, always irritating, had become unreal, and all 
troops were merged in one Army of the United States. There was 
hardly one chance in twenty that a soldier on the rolls at the 
Armistice had seen duty before the declaration of war. 

Around nuclei of Regulars and Guardsmen new troops made 
fastest progress. These were the units likely to be sent first to 
France. The National Guard divisions were sent for training to 
cantonments in the South, whence, it was hoped, transportation 
might be available to move them abroad before winter. Pershing 
had asked for a million before the end of June, 1918; the War 
Department saw no way of getting to him more than two-thirds 
that many, and these only if new tonnage should be discovered. 

The sites chosen for the cantonments were commonly near 
Army posts already in existence, none of which had housing capac- 


ity for a complete division. There was an abundance of hurried 
work in new construction, complicated by shortage of labor and of 
tentage, and difficult to manage even on the assumption that the 
troops would soon be moved to France. There was political 
pressure, too, for many States were eager to know that their 
troops had gone. Only the Twenty-Sixth (Yankee) Division was 
ready for early shipment, and there was political trouble to antici- 
pate if any one region was to be singled out to lead the reinforce- 
ment. The Twenty-Sixth became the third division to arrive in 
France; but an additional division of Guardsmen was improvised, 
to be built out of units selected from the Guard at large. This was 
the Forty-Second, bearing the appropriate name of 'Rainbow,' 
and concentrated at Gamp Mills on Long Island, near the 'At- 
lantic port' of embarkation. It paraded in its first review Sep- 
tember 30, and then dropped out of the news until it could be 
announced that it was with the A.E.F. in France. By Thanks- 
giving it was proceeding to its training area. The First, Second, 
Twenty-Sixth, and Forty-Second were all the combat divisions 
Pershing had that were reasonably ready for the field when 
activities were resumed in the spring of 1918. His dream was still 
a dream. He had, in all, less than a third of his million, and of 
these half were service troops. 

It was not the immediate duty of the War Department to get 
the troops to France. That duty fell between the Navy, convoying 
the transports, and the Shipping Board, mobilizing tonnage. But 
it was imperative to the Army that the troops be moved. For this 
purpose an Embarkation Service was created in August. Kernan 
had charge of this for the first few weeks, before he went to France 
and was assigned the Line of Communications between the ports 
and the A.E.F. Created as a General Staff agency to 'supervise' 
and to co-ordinate, the Embarkation Service actually operated 
the United States end of the long trip. It was bad theory for the 
General Staff to operate it, for the raison d'etre of that body is to 
advise. But there was no organization in the old Army fitted to 
the work, emergency pressed, and high co-ordination was impera- 
tive. The Washington Post, near enough to the center of co-ordina- 


tion to know something of its problems, feared that 'It will be 
humanly impossible to get 250,000 men on French territory 
within a year,' Hoboken and Newport News became the 'Atlantic 
ports' of mystery whence the Embarkation Service shipped the 
men, 45,000 by the end of August, and 142,000 more before 
January. The Navy protected the transports once at sea: 'su- 
perbly efficient, 3 Baker described the protection. But the Navy 
could as readily have protected more had there been transports to 
carry them. Seven hundred men a day made a depressing record 
between the declaration and the end of 1917. 

The sixteen camps, designed to receive the first increments of 
the National Army and subsequent drafts as they might be called, 
were expected to be as permanent as the war Itself. In them the 
recruits were to receive the general training of the soldier, leaving 
for France the final polishing. Additional training in the special- 
ized camps of the A.E.F. was in the scheme, to be followed by 
duty on quiet sectors of the front before going into the line of 

In ordinary Army practice, the erection of the camps would 
have been the duty of the Quartermaster Corps, one of the 
permanent service bureaus of the War Department. But it was 
clear to the Council of National Defense in April that this bureau, 
already overburdened with more explicitly military work, would 
have difficulty in handling as lavish a building program as the war 
would make necessary. An Emergency Construction Committee, 
Council of National Defense, began to function, drawing its 
executives from the ranks of large contractors. If these men knew 
their business well enough to be of use, they were so closely inter- 
locked with the contractors who would build the camps that they 
were open to attack as being improperly involved. It was a matter 
for shrewd guesswork to sketch the unavoidable equipment of 
each of the cities of 48,000 to be built for the training of National 
Army divisions. There were barracks and mess halls, service 
offices, recreation places, water systems, sewage, and telephones to 
be provided. Before these could be spread upon any blueprint the 
War Department was forced to a hurried examination of sites as 


offered, and to an annoying struggle with local interests each 
craving a camp near home. 

The Quartermaster Corps permitted the Emergency Con- 
struction Committee to select contractors to build the camps, 
awarding each camp to a single well-established firm. By the end 
of May it was ready to inaugurate its own Construction Division to 
sign contracts and take legal responsibility for the work. Since 
speed was of the essence of the contract, and work must begin be- 
fore plans were completed, contracts were let on a cost-plus basis, 
whereby the contractor was allowed a profit of seven per cent, but 
not over $250,000 on any one camp. Every contractor entered 
into competition with shipbuilders and munition-makers for labor 
and for materials. Construction could not be begun until near the 
end of June, 1917, which was too soon for accuracy and too late 
for the military need. Rushing the work as best they could, the 
contractors were not completely ready for troops when the day of 
mobilization arrived, September 5. Not all of the 687,000 drafted 
men were in camp before Christmas. It was never necessary to 
build the fullest estimated capacity into the camps, for troop ship- 
ments in 1918 left room for new recruits. 

With small prospect of shipment, the War Department built up 
an army and the camps to house it. Of the sixteen National Army 
camps, only one was on the West Coast, Camp Lewis in Washing- 
ton. Only four others were west of the Mississippi: Dodge in Iowa, 
Funston in Kansas, Pike in Arkansas, Travis in Texas. Four were 
in the Middle West: Grant in Illinois, Custer in Michigan, Sher- 
man in Ohio, and Taylor in Kentucky. The remaining seven were 
lined up near the Atlantic Coast: Devens in Massachusetts, Upton 
in New York, Dix in New Jersey, Meade in Maryland, Lee in 
Virginia, Jackson in South Carolina, and Gordon in Georgia. It 
was a triumph of skill and energy to have the camps as nearly 
ready as they were: a triumph for W. A. Starrett of the Emergency 
Construction Committee and Brigadier-General I. W. Littell of 
the Quartermaster Corps. It would not have been unreasonable 
for Congress to have foreseen that war would entail such work, or 
to have profited from the sad experience of the training camps in 


the war with Spain, Congress might have learned from the record 
of the Civil War that disease is more deadly than bullets, and have 
made provision for an accumulation of foreknowledge about camp 

The need for the equipment of the soldier was as pressing as that 
for his housing, and would have been hard to meet even if the 
nature of the equipment had been determined in advance. Food, 
clothing, bedding, and all the ordinary requirements of a million 
men were to be procured, a process in which the Rosenwald com- 
mittees did their share. These things did not in most cases call for 
commodities unknown to trade, such as would require the erection 
of new factories to make new kinds of goods. They could be 
bought, and the Quartermaster Corps welcomed the aid of the 
committees. The usual provision of the Revised Statutes, forbidding 
any servant of the United States to let a contract if he had any 
financial interest in the commodity concerned, got in the road of 
the process. The provision was made more specific during the 
summer, and much of the debate on the Lever Act was in criticism, 
of members of voluntary committees who passed contracts to their 
own firms. It was possible to make the technical point that the 
voluntary committees did not legally let the contracts, but merely 
passed upon their suitability so that officers in the Army might act 
more quickly and with better judgment. But the Council of Na- 
tional Defense found it necessary to revise its whole committee 
structure, under the new prohibition, and to require its agents to 
cut themselves away from their former business connections. 
The difficulty was transitory since, once the flurry of the first six 
months of war was over, the structure of the Army grew up to its 
task. In this Goethals found his final job. Out of the Emergency 
Fleet in July, he was back in the War Department in December, as 
acting Quartermaster-General, solidifying a buying organization 
that was competent enough to dispense with the services of the 
committees that had helped it at the beginning. The men who 
did the work were often the same, but they were encased in uni- 
forms and detached from business. 

The tools of the soldier were another matter. New weapons 


had made their appearance since 1914, old weapons had changed 
in relative importance, and none could be manufactured in 
quantity until military opinion had approved the plans. Pershing 
was not convinced that war had so changed as to lessen the need 
for infantry. He still thought of the individual rifleman as the 
backbone of an army. Not blind to aviation or to machine-gun- 
nery, or to the changes due to the use of gas and gas defense, he 
made the rifleman who could both shoot and use the bayonet his 
indispensable unit. He called for such, and the stress his requisi- 
tions placed upon bayonet drill emphasized his notion that the 
A.E.F. must be trained to fight close to the enemy, in the open. 
Trench warfare was inescapable, but the trench was not a weapon 
of aggression. 

The old Army was equipped with the Springfield (1903) rifle, 
made in United States arsenals, and believed to be as good a gun 
as was; but it was one for which no factories existed capable of 
turning it out by the million. There was a stock on hand sufficient 
for the first million men, a total soon passed by the Regular Army, 
the National Guard, and the first increment of the National Army. 
At this point Congress had not been completely blind to necessity. 
But as the Pershing vision permeated the War Department, and his 
estimates suggested second, third, and even fourth millions of men 
in arms, the question rose whether it would be quicker to build new 
factories for Springfields, or to make use of American plants that 
had, since 1914, been engaged in quantity production of the 
British Enfields. England had passed the crest of man-power, 
which meant that some of the capacity of the Enfield factories was 
available for the use of the United States. The decision was to 
modify the Enfield, so that it could use Springfield shells whose 
large-scale manufacture was relatively simple. Without abandon- 
ing the American guns, all of which were put to use, the American 
Enfields were put into production in August, 1917, so that two and 
a half million of them were available at the Armistice and the 
supply was ahead of the requirement. When the draft men came 
to camp there were not enough rifles for all of them and, until the 
factories had speeded up, this absence of weapons made mobiliza- 
tion appear to be less effective than in fact it was. 


Machine guns had been used with such success in the European 
armies that there was no difference of opinion about their lavish 
issue to an American force. The only question was one of type. 
The allowance of machine guns per regimen t, fixed at four in 1912, 
was 336 in 1919. The selection of types, accelerated by the war, 
had been made possible by a large appropriation for machine guns, 
voted by Congress in 1916. The various boards of officers, sitting 
to determine type, had to consider not only absolute efficiency but 
ease of manufacture, for the machine gun is a complicated 
weapon. Unless it could be put easily into quantity production it 
was not suitable for adoption. Officers of equal intelligence and 
experience were capable of violent partisanship for different guns, 
and laymen had no opinion worth notice. The friends of an 
American inventor, Colonel Isaac N. Lewis, could not understand 
why his guns did not become the standard for the A.E.F. The 
Allied armies were using them in thousands. But the War Depart- 
ment thought them not dependable. It bought whatever guns it 
could get for temporary use, but deferred final decision until it was 
convinced. 'We added the Browning gun in May, 19 17,' testified 
Baker, during an investigation of the War Department after the 
war was over. Two models of this gun, light and heavy, were put 
into production as soon as factories could handle them; a slow 
process, since before guns could be made, machines to make them 
must be designed and made, and machines to make the machines, 
and factories to house them. Not until 1918 were Brownings avail- 
able in large numbers. And even then their use was retarded be- 
cause of their superiority. Not until several divisions had been 
fully equipped with Brownings did Pershing want to risk the 
chance that a captured gun might reach the enemy and give away 
its secret. Brownings were not in use until the last three months of 
war. Whether this was speed or sloth depends largely upon the 
temperament of the inquirer. 

Artillery was vital, and was the subject of a battle of its own, 
once war was over. The first program of divisions called for 2100 
field guns of standard type, not to mention many specialized 
varieties. There were some 554 of these on hand; not enough for 


the training of the artillery brigades. What there were were kept 
at home for this use. A program of American manufacture was 
launched, but was not pressed to the injury of other programs, 
since there was plenty of artillery in sight. Both France and Eng- 
land were prepared, in their own factories, to turn out more bat- 
teries than their own armies could use. There was double econ- 
omy in buying these: it relieved the United States of a degree of 
congestion and saved some cargo space. The Allies were ready to 
guarantee guns for American artillery as it might arrive, in return 
for American assurance that steel and other raw materials for their 
manufacture should come to them in steady flow. Before the 
Armistice the American factories were turning out complete 
artillery units of 75 mm. guns as rapidly as needed; but the A.E.F. 
in action used foreign guns. This was a condition to be approved, 
not blamed. 

The provision of aircraft was a matter not of question, but of 
creation. The industry did not exist in the United States. At the 
declaration the Army had two air fields and fifty-five 'serviceable 
planes 5 (of which, however, the National Advisory Committee on 
Aeronautics said fifty-one were obsolete and four were obsolescent) . 
The supply of aviators was no better than that of planes. But after 
this start from scratch there were, at the Armistice, n,ooo flying 
officers in the Army, with 4300 of them in France. 

The program for aviation would not have been American if it 
had not been expressed in large numbers and quantity production 
of standard types. It could not, like artillery, be worked up 
gradually, in confidence that the Allies could carry it until the 
American factories were in operation. France, not inviting an 
army to fight as such, demanded planes and aviators as soon as the 
United States entered the war. The aircraft factories of the Allies 
could not build planes as rapidly as they cracked up in use, and had 
no reserve strength with which to build squadrons to overwhelm 
the enemy. Carrying a part of this load was part of the reinforce- 
ment, but no organized industry was ready for it. There was 
plenty of clean spruce in the forests of the Northwest, but it had to 
be logged and fabricated. There were plenty of skilled wood- 


workers, who could be diverted from billiard tables and barroom 
equipment to the manufacture of planes. But this would take 
time, even were there plans available. There were no plans or 
models. There was not even a known engine adapted to quantity 
production. Aviation was everywhere so new that it was still true 
that each new model launched against the enemy was obsolete in 
the designing-room before it took the air. Yet the vision of a 
bridge of ships had hardly faded before another vision of swarms of 
airplanes took its place. - 

A joint Army-Navy board agreed easily that 22,000 planes were 
needed for the year, and the press took up the announcement of 
intent and need as though it were one of promise and fulfillment. 
Congress was willing, voting $640,000,000 for the purpose, July 
24, 1917, and the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps went 
hard to work. 'The Liberty Engine, 5 says Crowell in his America's 
Munitions, 1917-1918 (1919), 'was America's distinctive contribu- 
tion to the war in the air, and her chief one. 3 England was working 
with thirty-seven types of engines, France with forty-six. It was 
determined that the United States should design a standard type. 
In a few days in May, 191 7, in a private suite of the Willard Hotel, 
a handful of aviation designers blocked it out. It was adopted 
June 4. The first engine was delivered in Washington just a month 
later. It proved to be a great engine, was hurried into production, 
and deliveries of 31,814 were made before the Armistice. But it 
could not be delivered in quantity for a year after the first experi- 
mental model had been made, and the engines shipped were too 
few for the equipment of the A.E.F. Until the end, the eyes of 
the Army went aloft in foreign planes. Here, too, it is a question 
of temperament whether the program was a huge achievement or a 
failure. The Aircraft Production Board gave its advice in the early 
days of the program, but full responsibility rested upon the 
shoulders of Brigadier-General George O. Squier, chief of the 
Signal Corps. 

The eighteen months of war fall easily into three periods of about 
six months, in each of which a special phase of the work that was to 
be done was dominant. For six months after Congress convened in 


April, 1917, program was in the air the large planning for the 
kind of war that could be guessed, and the ways to win it. It was a 
war in which the United States might never get to fight in France, 
but it might be necessary to carry on the struggle if the Allies 
cracked. By the time Congress ended its session in October the 
larger plans had been made; overlapping, some of them, and often 
inconsistent and impracticable, but on large scale and indicating a 
determination that had no limit. For the next six months, the 
problem was administration making plans work, eliminating 
deadlock, and constructing the physical and human machines 
needed for victory. Such schemes as ships and planes, too complex 
for improvisation in an age in which miracles were rare, absorbed 
money and good-will. But the struggle was over before their 
weight was on the line. By the spring of 1918 most of the plans 
were working, and the operation of the American war machines 
became the striking feature of the picture. The war lasted long 
enough for Pershing to figure in the victory, and for the army of his 
dream to become reality. But at the moment in September, 1917, 
when the earliest of the drafted men were sent to their uncompleted 
camps, and when Pershing established G.H.Q. in eastern France, 
the first phase of war was only just changing into the second. 
There was room at every part of the program to wonder if it was 

When the men arrived at camp they found that the army they 
were in was such as the United States had not seen before. 

A distinctive feature of the National Defense Act of 1916 had 
been its emphasis upon the Officers 5 Reserve Corps, and the prin- 
ciple that thereafter the line commands in the Army (the com- 
mands that had to do with fighting men) should not be assigned 
through politics or influence, but should go to officers who at least 
knew more of the duties of the soldier than the recruits they com- 
manded. The propriety of this had always been obvious; the 
practice, the reverse. Volunteers had been allowed to choose their 
own officers. Politicians had been given line commands. The need 
for a reform in this direction had been emphasized by what had 
been heard of the struggle of the English to procure trained 


officers. Leonard Wood, while Chief of Staff, had utilized interest 
and apprehension to launch his series of civilian camps. The 
military requirements in the land-grant colleges had taken on a 
new seriousness, once young men felt themselves under the shadow 
of impending war. The President indicated his adherence to the 
new principle when he declined to make Theodore Roosevelt the 
greatest possible of political generals. 

The War Department acted upon the new principle in advance 
of the passage of the Selective Service Act. On May 15 it assembled 
at some sixteen army posts a series of training camps whose 
graduates might hope three months later to be qualified to receive 
officers' commissions in the National Army. Nearly 40,000 
students contested for the chance to be tested and trained. They 
came from the upper groups in the university regiments and from 
private life, and 27,341 of them received commissions. 

The first camps, graduating their classes in time for the mobili- 
zation of September 5, were followed by a second series August 27, 
and by a third and fourth. The process of officer training there- 
upon became continuous. At every divisional camp it was the in- 
tent to maintain an officers 5 training unit, whose candidates were 
selected by merit from among the drafted men to create both a 
democratic army and a competent command. A camp for Negro 
officers was conducted at Des Moines. It was not possible in 
ninety days to make a finished officer out of a civilian, but the 
young lieutenants into whose hands were entrusted the drafted 
men in September had learned more in their three months than 
officers old in the service believed young men could learn. Plan- 
ning of program was transmuted into execution when the men 
reported and the drill began. 


JL HE Yanks were indeed coming. But no one who was not in the 
know knew the painfully small figures of their embarkation. 
What was happening in France, as the Pershing program took 
definite shape, was screened from view. Not even the newspapers 
knew much about it, and that which they knew was withheld from 
publication. The voluntary censorship, agreed to without a law, 
worked well. The news releases from the Government were deliber- 
ately vague, full of preparations for great things, but not revealing 
detailed events. 

Men were moving to camp. One could see the trains. Red 
Cross women met them at the stations and distributed cigarettes. 
Letters home told of camp experiences. Large numbers of troops 
were shifted from camp to camp without apparent reason. The 
public was aware of the numbers of the divisions as originally 
assigned to cantonments and camps, but no great comment was 
made when it was discovered that a shift had occurred. The 
Forty-First (Sunset) Division of Western National Guard was first 
assembled in Gamp Fremont near Palo Alto, but was taken away 
after the War Department had quarreled with the local powers 
over the cost of a necessary sewer. Hunter Liggett, detached from 
his Presidio command, escorted it to a new location at Camp 
Greene, near Charlotte, North Carolina. In October, Baker ad- 
dressed the division, which was noted without comment, though it 
was significant enough for comment. Next came the news that the 
tents at Greene were occupied by a newly organized Third Division 
and that Joseph T. Dickman was in command. But when and 
how Liggett took the Forty-First to France, no one was told. When 
the Eighth Division, successor at Camp Fremont to the Forty-First, 


was moved east its men were carried in forty-two special trains 
spread over six days. 

Even the War Department did not know too much. When the 
drafted men began to move in September, the camps were too 
uneven in their advancement for an exact schedule to be main- 
tained. Much, however, was made of the ceremony of mobiliza- 
tion. On Tuesday the fourth, the day after Labor Day, Wilson 
inarched again, this time at the head of a Washington procession 
escorting the draftees from the District to the railroad. In a 
Western State the group of draftees entertained their whole 
neighborhood in recognition of the honor conferred upon them. 
Civic celebrations and parades were the order of the day. Yet it 
was impossible to predict the numbers made available or how the 
687,000 of the first draft would be assigned. The adoption of the 
Pershing division of 28,000 as the American type compelled a 
revision of War Department tables and made necessary the assign- 
ment of drafted men to fill the Regular and Guard divisions. 
Great numbers were detached for the specialized services air, 
forest, medical, engineer, and the rest. What were left after all the 
drains upon them became the nuclei of National Army divisions 
whose commanding officers could not know from day to day what 
men or officers they were to have. 

In spite of hesitant beginnings the preparation of the armed 
forces was in motion with men in charge whose whole professional 
life had had to do with troops. The War Department was compe- 
tent to convert its civilian recruits into soldiers, given time. It was 
now ready to raise an army of maximum size and to think of 
Europe as a destination, although the new Embarkation Service 
was ever short of ships. What worried most in the seclusion of the 
council chamber was the growing problem of procurement, and the 
necessity to add to the fighting equipment of the United States a 
proper quota of those unarmed forces whose utilization by the 
Allies had in three years brought the Central Powers into a tight 
investment and state of siege. Procurement passed into a new 
phase in July, with the creation of a War Industries Board. Con- 
gress, at the end of the war session, provided the last legislation 


necessary as a preliminary to the erection of a War Trade Board. 
Through the whole session the legislative brain was racked as it 
sought to devise means to pay the bills. And, uninformed of much 
that was going on in Europe, it could not keep away from the 
intriguing question of war aims. As more and more was being 
authorized, and more and more had to be taken on faith, the need 
increased to make it clear why the United States was fighting. 

The hard-pressed Sixty-Fifth Congress deserved more sympathy 
than it received. For one hundred and ninety-two days it labored, 
as no other Congress had worked. Nearly every aspect of war 
legislation was novel; most of the methods urged by the Adminis- 
tration were 'un-American' if judged by any pre-war experience 
in the United States. The great laws, without which the United 
States could not have fought a war, were ground out with what 
seemed under the dome of the Capitol to be surprising swiftness. 
Looked at from Main Street, the deliberation with which they 
came resembled culpable delay. 

The acquiescence of Congress in the needs of war lagged behind 
the need. Unavoidable as this was, it aroused acid comment. 
Congressmen, working without let-up and in a fog, became acid 
themselves when called upon to solve the unsolvable and when the 
proportions of a war measure kept growing while the measure was 
under consideration. The war was in its forty-seventh day before 
an army was authorized; and in its one hundred and fifty-seventh 
day before the drafted men were due in camp. And it was only 
three days before adjournment on October 6 that the revenue bill 
was passed. 

Behind the protective wall of the Allied armies and the British 
Navy the United States remained safe while it deliberated and took 
the steps in the conversion of a peaceful democracy into a war 
machine. Yet in thirty-seven days in 1914 most of Europe had 
sprung to arms, Belgium had been overrun, and the invader had 
been turned back from the gates of Paris with his Schlieffen plan a 

No aspect of the process of preparation is more interesting than 
the way in which the people crowded the Government. They were 


the most effective of the unarmed forces of the war. The official 
mind was hesitant as it faced the crisis. The non-official, not know- 
ing enough of red tape to be bound by it, stumbled over what it 
Ignored, yet became a continuous prod upon Government action. 
All conceded that a democratic war could not be fought without 
popular approval, but none had guessed how much more popular 
desire would ask than the Government could accomplish. 

The civilians' task at the beginning was to advise and to do odd 
jobs; to supplement the efforts of the Government; to assist in 
planning things for the Administration to carry out. In this work 
the Council of National Defense had no difficulty in enlisting 
whom it wanted. The busiest of men, called to Washington at their 
own expense., came at the call, many to remain until the Armistice. 
The committee system,, hurriedly assembled, crowded some of the 
Government offices so as to impede their work. In others it rein- 
forced the effort and provided the fresh point of view that bureau- 
cracy tends to lose. As Congress approached the end of the session 
many of the committees had done all they could do, and were ready 
to be thrust aside because the departments concerned had caught 
up. In any event they would have had to be shoved aside, since 
they lacked legal authority and Congress was properly critical of 
their interlock with business. The post-war investigations of their 
behavior produced no important testimony to indicate either 
favoritism or malfeasance, but they did not represent an orderly 
procedure. As its committees receded from the picture the Coun- 
cil of National Defense itself lost some of its prominence. Con- 
ceived as a sort of civilian general staff, to advise and launch but 
not to execute, the Council had done its work when its advice had 
been taken or declined. Its large proposals came quickest iii the 
first three months of war. Thereafter, Its planning refined the 
margins of the war program or was brought to focus upon un- 
expected developments in the execution of it. Many of the com- 
mittees c seem to have had but short life, but in reality they were 
governmental creations in the process of integration/ Gifford 
remained director of the Council until the war was over, but he 
never sought or received the prominence adhering to the quasi- 
dictators of the war administrations. 


The Emergency Fleet Corporation, operating agency of the 
Shipping Board, was the earliest of these war administrations to 
take shape by the side of the pre-war Government. Next came the 
Food Administration in its voluntary phase, before Congress 
legalized it in the Lever Act. Before this legal benediction was 
bestowed the third war administration arose, never to have status 
in law, but to become in fact the greatest of them all. This was 
the War Industries Board, conceived in the Council of National 
Defense and erected with the approval of the President, July 28, 

The sequence of problems to whose solution the War Industries 
Board was assigned went back at least to Kernan's report upon the 
manufacture of arms, made early in the year. The Council of 
National Defense first attacked this with its Munitions Standards 
Board; and Scott, who was drafted as its chairman, stayed by the 
problem and grew with it until his health gave way under the 
strain. In the second phase of the problem the General Munitions 
Board took on a list of military and naval associates and broadened 
Its vision to the 'equipping and arming 3 of whatever forces might 
be raised; bound to bear in mind at the same time the need of 
general industry to carry on. It endeavored to co-ordinate the 
needs of the Army and Navy with the industrial requirements of 
the country, and learned each day how broad these were and how 
far down they penetrated into the ordinary life of the United 

It was easier to comprehend the ends to be obtained than to 
devise workable means for reaching them. Priority came first of 
all. The most elementary of the surveys of procurement revealed 
probable shortage of materials that could not be done without. It 
was obligatory to devise a method by which prior needs should be 
met first, and secondary needs held back. It was impossible to 
gauge the importance of any demand for material by the vehe- 
mence with which it was pressed, since every office believed that 
the success of the war centered around itself. In the determination 
of priority it was essential to have a picture of all the needs, of 
various degrees of intensity, and to consider them dispassionately 


upon their merits. There was no way in which a volunteer agency 
could, of itself, possess this knowledge. Some principle of repre- 
sentation had to be worked out whereby each of the war agencies 
could submit its table of requirements so that these could be 
appraised by the side of those of industry and normal life. Army 
and Navy needs were most visible. The Emergency Fleet was 
insistent. The railroads could not get along without their steel, 
coal, and timber. And there was always the pressure of the Allies 
for their supplies. Once priority was determined soundly, it was a 
simple matter to give clearance to such contracts as were approved 
and to permit the contract to be fulfilled. It was less simple to 
persuade industry, deprived of its requirements, to like to live 
without them. More firms than admitted it agreed with the sharp 
Washington Post that priority was the Vermiform appendix' of the 
war machine, and would have been glad to cut it out. The many 
committees of the Advisory Commission, C.N.D., and in particular 
its Committee on Raw Materials, were all the eyes the Govern- 
ment possessed through which to glimpse a view of what supplies 
there were. And these committees, as the weeks wore on, became 
suspect to war contractors and to Congress. 

By the middle of June, Gifford had been assigned the task of 
devising a reorganization of the committee system that would both 
work and escape the criticism inherent in the original set-up. He 
was asked to draft a modification of the General Munitions Board 
so that it might have an adequate knowledge of requirements. 
The Public Ledger noted that c a profound change in the civilian 
conduct of the war 5 was imminent, and guessed that Baruch, in 
charge of raw materials, might develop into a general purchasing 
agent. The unity of management that Wilson was working toward 
for the Shipping Board and its Emergency Fleet needed to be 
applied to the problem of procurement. Goethals and Denman 
could not get along together. It was uncertain whether Scott and 
Baruch could be made into a team. At the same time, negotiations 
were proceeding among the Treasury and the Allies in the hope of 
lessening the competition in buying. McAdoo was restive. Meet- 
ing the demands of the Allies, under the loan act, for advances to 


cover their purchases in the United States, he watched them take 
the money into the American market and bid against the United 
States for supplies of which there were not enough for both. The 
advancing prices resulting from this hurt everyone, and in the end 
increased the financial burden upon the Treasury. It affected 
price levels, increasing the cost of living so as to lower real wages 
and start rnutterings of labor trouble in every branch of war work. 
On July 1 1 the President announced that price-fixing would be- 
come a weapon of the war, and as he made this announcement he 
had in hand Gifford's proposal for the reorganization. The rear- 
rangements were agreed upon before July was over. 

The General Munitions Board disappeared from the organiza- 
tion chart of the Government when its chairman, Scott, became 
chairman of its successor, the War Industries Board, July 28, 1917. 
The six men associated with Scott in the new arrangement repre- 
sented the larger facets of the procurement problem, beginning 
with Baruch, whose genius for contacts and hunches kept him still 
in charge of the search for raw materials. Already his people were 
beginning to survey the world sources of those raw materials 
essential to manufacture and lacking within the United States. 
Where these were to be found on Allied soil, it was a matter for 
bargain, with the Allies indisposed to give anything to the United 
States without full compensation. Rubber and manganese were 
among the most necessary of the raw materials. No other country 
was perhaps as nearly self-sufficient as the United States in its 
native supply of raw materials, but not even the United States 
possessed them all. It began to be suspected that world politics in 
the future would revolve more and more around the necessity of 
industrial nations to get access to the indispensable supplies that 
others owned. The Bureau of Mines in the Department of the 
Interior threw its experts into the search for minerals, and eco- 
nomic geologists began to think that they were to be the coming 

Robert S. Brookings, who joined the crew as expert in finished 
products, was a self-made St. Louis business man with a typical 
'success* career until he turned in middle life from profits to public 


service. His greatest achievement had been the rebuilding of 
Washington University; he was, before he died, to erect in Wash- 
ington an institution bearing his name whose function was to be to 
watch and inspect the operation of government and to report upon 
it to the people. Hermann Hagedorn has recorded his passion for 
facts in Brooking*: A Biography (1936). When the price-fixing 
business was split off to a separate committee, it was under the 
direction of Brookings. Robert S. Lovett, who was the new com- 
missioner with special oversight of railroad and priority matters, 
was a railroad president who had directed the Union Pacific and 
Southern Pacific systems. Lovett had come out of Texas into New 
York as a young lawyer without backing. He had caught the 
attention of E. H. Harriman, had administered the estate of his 
benefactor, and had stepped into the management of the Harri- 
man railroad interests. There were two military commissioners on 
the War Industries Board. Colonel Palmer E. Pierce of the 
General Staff represented the Army: Rear Admiral William B. 
Fletcher, who had commanded at Vera Cruz in 1914, the Navy. 
Labor had a spokesman in the person of Hugh Frayne, a veteran of 
the American Federation, who had so often been spokesman for 
Gompers that the same language came from the lips of each. 

The staffs of assistants organized around the seven commis- 
sioners were required to separate themselves from business and 
industry so that in giving their advice in procurement they might 
not fall foul of the law. The third section of the Lever Act was 
detailed and mandatory in its prohibition of the dual relationship 
that had hampered the old committees. In organizing the many 
sub-committees under the new Board the commissioners recog- 
nized how fully their policies would depend upon the accuracy of 
the knowledge possessed by the various 'commodity' sections. 
These sections grew in number and varied in importance as the 
need of the moment shifted; but the end a government advisory 
agency whose staff was separate from trade yet was thoroughly 
informed about it was kept in view. The Rosenwald committees, 
borrowed from trade in the opening days, were finally dissolved in 
November, 1917, with members thanked and either returned to 


their jobs or taken wholly into the Government. And industry, 
now that Government was becoming able to inform itself, under- 
took a new organization of its resources so as to be able to deal with 
the Government. 

Under the anti-trust laws the proscription of combinations in 
restraint of trade had effectively prevented frank organization 
among the American industries. There was undercover agree- 
ment, treading so close on the borders of conspiracy that the law 
officers were ever on its heels. But little had been done to build up, 
trade by trade, well-informed organization through- whose eyes 
any craft could be looked at as a whole. The new set-up for war 
industry required the Government to look upon each industry as a 
unit, and the pressure of necessity brought it about that as Govern- 
ment reached down to control, industry should reach up to serve. 
The United States Chamber of Commerce, formed in 1912 and 
maintaining Washington offices close to Lafayette Square, had 
stuck to generalities and had avoided anything that might be 
interpreted as illegal conspiracy. It now placed itself at the head of 
a movement to bring business into line. In a special convention at 
Atlantic City in September, Gifford told it what the War Industries 
Board wanted, and resolutions were adopted asking each of the 
industries to create a Washington bureau, manned by its own 
people, and able to reveal to the appropriate commodity sections 
of the War Industries Board the business version of the facts upon 
which the Government must act. The commodity section mem- 
bers had not been out of business long enough to forget trade 
secrets that their former business associates might be indisposed to 

There were a few organizations, already in existence and 
nearly enough what was wanted, able to serve this need. The 
Chemical Alliance was a Connecticut incorporation. The Iron 
and Steel Institute was already nearly ten years old. The Textile 
Alliance (1914) had a mass of information at its disposal respecting 
fibers and their use. A Tanners* Council was created to meet the 
call for help. And the rest of industry followed in the train of 
these. By December, 1917, enough of their bureaus were beyond 


the original genesis for it to be possible to assemble their chiefs in 
general conference in Washington. Before the Armistice, under 
the oversight of the War Service executive committee of the 
Chamber of Commerce, some four hundred central offices were at 
work, and the War Service Committees had become a necessary 
part of business. The titles of many of them revealed a service to 
be rendered or a sacrifice to be made. Business was either essen- 
tial, to be nursed, or non-essential, to be stifled. The committees 
ranged the alphabet from that of the Brewing Industry to that of 
Wrapping Paper; Sheet Metal Ware had its War Service organiza- 
tion, as did Wooden Boxes. It is not certain what the Brassiere 
War Service Committee contributed to the winning of the war, but 
the Corset Industry took a steel or two from women's waistlines 
and claimed credit for releasing many thousand tons of steel for 
more essential use. A less serviceable contribution was that of one 
of the 'damned professors 5 whose duty led him to revise a list of 
non-essential cotton manufactures. He came to 'corset laces, 5 and 
with an innocence unusual in married men disposed of them with 
the comment: 'Corset laces are certainly not essential. They can 
just as well wear them without any trimming.' 

Before Congress met in December, ready for a new session and 
vexed by the shroud of secrecy that veiled the field of battle, the 
War Industries Board was beginning to understand its problem. 
It had lost Scott and received Willard in his place. The air was 
full of suggestion of mistake and mismanagement, but the War 
Department was nearly ready to run itself. A new War Council, 
created in the War Department on December 15, provided pro- 
motion upstairs for certain of the bureau chiefs. In the place of 
Sharpe, Quartermaster-General, who was thus moved up, 
Goethals directed the supervision of procurement from an office in 
the General Staff, and as acting Quartermaster-General saw to it 
that the Staff advice was followed. The War Industries Board 
remained a creation of the Council of National Defense and, in 
theory, was still subordinate to it. Its commissioners were in fact 
working informally at every place of friction where military need 
rubbed hard against industrial capacity. 


Of the seven original members of the War Industries Board, 
three were known to be specially concerned with the Allied com- 
petition for the output of American farms and factories: Baruch, 
Brookings, and Lovett. The 'beneficiaries of the huge American 
loan 3 were crowding the market. Army and Navy buyers found 
essential supplies sold out before they could prepare their own 
specifications. The specialists in raw materials, finished supplies, 
and priority were the natural members of the War Industries 
Board to be hampered by the competition and to be called upon to 
control it; and the greater Allies were working out an agreement 
with the Treasury while the Council of National Defense was 
revamping its structure in July. On August 25 an agreement was 
signed whereby Baruch, Brookings, and Lovett, and Hoover where 
food was concerned, should constitute a Purchasing Commission 
for the Allies. Through this agency their needs were to be brought 
into harmony with those of the American Government at the 
requirements office of the War Industries Board. There is no 
earlier step than this in the direction of a single organization 
among the enemies of Germany. From this beginning the next 
steps follow in a direct path until in April, 1918, Foch of France 
came into command of all the armies on the Western Front. But 
before these steps could be planned or taken, the unarmed forces of 
the United States had been added to by the creation of other 

To the three major war administrations of ships, food, and 
industry, that of coal was added before the end of August. Gar- 
field, in fuel, like Hoover, in food,, had to meet most of the same 
problems that confronted industry, and each interlocked his 
organization with that of Scott. The fifth of the great war adminis- 
trations received a name when in an Executive Order of October 
12 the President created a War Trade Board, assigning its manage- 
ment to Vance McCormick. A sixth was still to come; a Railroad 
Administration under McAdoo which was not launched until 

There was power behind the Purchasing Commission for the 
Allies from the moment of its creation, for the Espionage Act had 


vested in the President full authority over the flow of exports. 
Out of this grew the War Trade Board. In the interval between 
June 15 and the signature of a Trading- with-the-Enemy Act on 
October 6, the things that were needed to constitute a strangle- 
hold on trade were considered, asked of Congress, and granted, so 
that McCormick and his Board had a legal status which the War 
Industries Board always lacked. 

The steps in the development of .the new policies followed 
closely upon the law. The President assigned his authority over 
exports to an Exports Council, whose members were Cabinet 
officers. The Exports Council entrusted the administration of 
exports to a Division of Export Licenses in the Department of 
Commerce, in connection with whose management McCormick 
learned the requirements of his job. On July 15, by proclamation 
of the President, the new power was in operation a c new weapon 
against Germany a noiseless and unseen weapon.' 

There was some real danger that uncontrolled exports might 
have done both of two things: given aid to the enemy and drained 
from the United States its vital and necessary supplies. The 
routine figures of foreign trade showed this as they made it pos- 
sible to compare the pre-war averages of wheat, beef, sugar, and 
fats with the totals for the first and second quarters of 1917. 

Within the United States a consequence of this drainage-off of 
food was already showing itself in rising prices. There was in- 
creasing pinch wherever Americans were living on narrow in- 
comes, and among wage-earners whose continuous and cheerful 
labor was a necessary part of war the rising cost of living upset the 
balance of the wage scale. Union labor was uneasy enough as it 
was asked to accept non-union workers, women, untrained 
apprentices, and new methods of management. High cost of 
living made things worse. The Government was daily called upon 
to mediate in strikes or to avert more strikes. The labor leaders, 
affiliated with Gompers, were keeping their pledge to hold their 
followers upon the job, but with increasing difficulty. At many 
places in the war program events now pointed to the need for a 
war-labor policy that should be an integrated part of the war 


administration. The informal agreement made with labor through 
Gompers meant either this or nothing. Quite apart from this it 
was desirable that every effort be made to prevent such rises in 
food prices as might be prevented. The Exports Council prepared 
to co-operate through the control of sales abroad. 

The need to conserve food for home use was balanced by an 
equal need to prevent enemy use of American food, or neutral use 
that might indirectly prove to be of enemy advantage. It was 
only a year since the publication of the British blacklist of Ameri- 
can firms had stirred up all the anti-English elements in the 
United States. It had then seemed to be an unwarrantable inter- 
ference with American trade for the Allies to forbid their subjects 
to deal with American firms merely because these were suspected 
of having a German connection. The United States had traveled 
a long way in a year. As a belligerent now, it was gripped by the 
inexorable logic of war in an industrial age. It was bound to defeat 
its enemy whether in the field or by economic siege. It was bound 
to use its right over its own ships, ports, markets, and resources so 
as to prevent indirect aid from passing to the enemy through the 
neutral and to bargain with the neutral for whatever advantage 
could be extorted from him through trade restriction. The United 
States had departed from its status as neutral when the pressure 
of the belligerents became too great to be borne. The neutrals 
that were now left lacked the power to resist, without which 
neutral right is empty. The control of exports was only the 
beginning of trade pressure. 

Before the control of war trade could be converted into a com- 
plete and flexible weapon there was need for a grant of additional 
authority that would, in one direction, bring imports within the 
scheme, and, in the other, make a clear legal definition of the 
word 'enemy.' The former was simple enough. It required merely 
the passage of a law containing the word. Early in July, Andrew J. 
Montague of Virginia advised the House that 'this is not a war of 
soldiers so much as a war of economic forces/ and opened a very 
brief debate upon a Tradmg-with-the-Enemy Act. What little 
debate there was did not revolve about the clause conferring power 


over imports. The House finished with it all in parts of only three 
days; the Senate in only two. The bill did not become a law until 
the President signed it at the end of the session, October 6. But 
the delay was due to crowding occasioned by other bills, and to 
matters much more complicated than either exports or imports. 

The more difficult parts of the act fell under three heads: the 
definition of the word 'enemy/ so that it might correctly describe 
those enemies outside the United States with whom all trade was 
banned; the treatment of such subjects of the enemy as might be 
resident within the United States; and a rider attached to the bill 
in the Senate on motion of William H. King of Utah for the pur- 
pose of enlarging the powers over opinion that had been voted in 
the Espionage Act. Even these did not prolong the debate. The 
Senate adopted the conference report 48 to 42, and the House 
accepted it without a roll-call. 

It was conceded in the discussions that, during war, trade with 
the enemy became automatically illegal, and that the ordinary war 
powers of the President authorized its prohibition, with only so 
much exception as might be for public advantage and conducted 
under public license. It was conceded, too, that the word c enemy 5 
included not only the Government of the enemy, but also persons 
and corporations lying within its control, whether in the enemy 
country or in regions occupied by its army; and whether the per- 
sons or corporations were enemy subjects, or neutrals, or even 
those of the Allies or the United States. The bill so defined the 
word, and broadened it to include 'allies-of-enemy, 5 for the 
United States was not yet at war with Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, 
and Turkey. But the bill did more than this, because the auto- 
matic powers of the President did not clearly embrace the right to 
forbid trade with those in neutral or Allied countries who might 
be suspected of having an enemy connection. It was this suspect 
trade that the Allies had sought to strangle. It had brought about 
the blacklists, the control of bunker coal, and the arbitrary refusal 
to tolerate trade with neutrals in even innocent matters unless the 
Allies were assured of a military advantage to themselves. 

As the provision came back from conference and was embedded 


In the new law, it forbade any person In the United States (except 
with license from the President) 

to trade, or to attempt to trade, either directly or indirectly, with 3 
to, or from, or for, or on account of, or on behalf of, or for the bene- 
fit of, any other person, with knowledge or reasonable cause to 
believe that such other person is an enemy or ally of enemy, or is 
conducting or taking part in such trade, directly or indirectly, for, 
or on account of, or on behalf of, or for the benefit of, an enemy or 
ally of enemy. 

The normal definition of 'enemy/ in its widest form, included 
enemy subjects and corporations resident in the United States. 
The policy of the United States in inviting or permitting immigra- 
tion had brought within the country great numbers of such enemy 
aliens who had neglected naturalization, kept peacefully at 
their useful jobs, and were too highly regarded to be proscribed. 
When these disregarded the hospitality they enjoyed, they were 
subject to criminal law if they committed crime, or to internment 
if they threatened danger. But there was no intention of inflicting 
upon them as a class the full rigor of permissible international law. 
Spy scares' were numerous, and enough intrigue was known to 
warrant close observance of the behavior of these enemy aliens. 
But the millions of subjects of Germany and Austria-Hungary in 
the United States showed no sign of disloyalty as a class. Nervous 
American neighbors tattled about them in more cases than the 
Department of Justice has ever been willing to reveal, but when 
the American Protective League or the Division of Military Intel- 
ligence made quiet investigations they found few facts to justify the 
charges. The law was mitigated with respect to these aliens. 
They had trouble enough without it, for they were objects of a 
suspicion that often cost them jobs. The President directed them 
to keep away from camps and munition factories. They were not 
permitted to enter or leave the United States without special 
permission. They were required to register themselves and report 
their movements. But they were not interned, denied the protec- 
tion of the law, or generally molested. 

One group of enemy aliens possessed a special protection as old 


as the earliest treaty made with Prussia in 1 785 and continued in 
the revisions of that treaty made in 1799 and 1828. These were 
Prussian merchants residing in the United States, who were 
specifically allowed, in the event of war, 'to remain nine months 
to collect their debts and settle their affairs . . . [and to] depart 
freely, carrying all of their effects without molestation or hin- 
drance.' And other Prussians, similarly residing, 'whose occupa- 
tions are for the common subsistence and benefit of mankind, 3 
were entitled to an unmolested existence. 

But the promise of an 'unmolested existence' did not go so far as 
to permit them, or other alien enemies, to keep up communication 
with the Fatherland, or to send money home, or to engage in 
ventures useful to Germany. It did not promise that property 
within the United States, owned by enemies outside, should con- 
tinue to be productive to the owners, and thereby to Germany 
itself. The sixth section of the Trading-with-the-Enemy Act 
authorized the appointment of an Alien Property Custodian c to 
receive all money and property in the United States due or belong- 
ing to an enemy, or ally of enemy . . . and to hold, administer, and 
account for the same.' Germany had already, in the months 
before April, 1917, provided for the registration of enemy property 
within the Empire, had ordered its sale wherever convenient, and 
had brought about the liquidation of British and French firms or 
corporations doing business there. Its various decrees were de- 
signed to 'prevent the removal of such property from German 
jurisdiction.' Its policies had matched and had been matched by 
the similar policies of its enemies; and from both sides had come 
the claim that what was being done was being done only in retali- 
ation. The claim was not valid enough, wherever advanced, to 
receive much consideration. Segregation of enemy property was 
too obvious a duty of a belligerent to constitute a special offense or 
to need special justification. It was a part of modern war. When 
the United States became one of the enemies of Germany the Ger- 
man controls were broadened to embrace American-owned pro- 
perty and the United States of necessity set up similar restrictions. 

The new Alien Property Custodian was A. Mitchell Palmer of 


Pennsylvania, whose office was launched in an Executive Order of 
October 12. An 'original Wilson man/ Palmer might have been 
selected as Secretary of War in 1913 had not his scruples as a 
Quaker barred this sort of service. He deserved well of his party 
for having sacrificed his seat in the House in order to contest the 
seat of Boies Penrose in the Senate in the election of 1914. De- 
feated in the three-cornered contest with Penrose and Pinchot, he 
had gone back to his law office after a few weeks as a judge of the 
Court of Claims. He now undertook as trustee to search out and 
seize all enemy-owned property in the United States. What was to 
be done with it in the long run was left to the determination of 
Congress and to the reciprocal action of Germany after the peace. 
In the short run, it was to cease to constitute a menace to the war 
effort. Palmer managed to set up and administer more than 32,000 
separate trusts, aggregating in value $502,000,000, and he 
reminded Congress at the end of his service that he had more than 
paid the costs of his office by uncovering and collecting for the 
Government tax obligations that had been evaded. 

Different types of property were treated differently. That of 
Bulgarian and Turkish allies of Germany was generally untouched. 
That of private persons, some of them Americans caught within 
German lines, or Allies within occupied areas, was segregated, 
conserved, and held subject to return when owners could divest 
themselves of 'their technical enemy character.' But the property 
of enemy-owned corporations doing business in the United States 
was made e a part of America's great fighting machine.' Palmer's 
scruples against war did not go so far as to prevent vigorous work 
in co-operation with the armed forces. He found the enemy 
corporations more numerous than he anticipated, larger, and 
more penetrating in their industrial character. Their real owner- 
ship was often obscured behind false names and faked transfers 
that compelled 'painstaking investigation. 5 They owned much 
actual war material, bought and stored in the United States in 
absence of means of shipment to Germany. There were factories 
making magnetos, surgical instruments, chemicals, and drugs. 
Palmer's explorers uncovered a German penetration of American 


industry that he regarded as his duty to dissipate. His original 
powers as public trustee were insufficient for this, but he soon 
procured an amendment to the law whereby he was enabled to sell 
such property to new and loyal owners and to convert the proceeds 
into Liberty Bonds. These he held to the account of the alien own- 
ers and subject to action of Congress. He thus avoided the neces- 
sity to account for the high war profits that the enemy would have 
earned within the United States. He was proud c to make the 
Trading-with-the-Enemy Act a fighting force in the war.' 

No single class of enemy property created more difficulty than 
the German-owned patents, taken out in the United States before 
the war, and sometimes operated in the United States, sometimes 
abroad, and sometimes not operated at all. German industry, like 
American, had often bought competitive patents to suppress them. 
American war industry needed the service of all useful inventions 
to which the protection of the United States patent laws had been 
extended. Manufacture under them must continue, but without 
profit to the enemy while war lasted. Where the German owners 
had elected to manufacture only in Germany the war cut off 
supplies that could not well be spared: dyes, chemicals, and above 
all salversan the famous C 6o6' of Professor Paul Ehrlich which 
was without rival as a specific against syphilis. The act permitted 
the President to license the use of German patents by American 
firms; the President in turn vested the administration of these 
licenses in the Federal Trade Commission. 

Congress was in some doubt, as it debated the Trading- with-the 
Enemy Act, where to assign the various powers over trade. It dis- 
covered that there were jealousies and rivalries among the depart- 
ments, and here, as in many other cases, it avoided the issue by 
conferring most of the authority upon the President. On October 
12, Wilson made his distribution of duties, giving the largest share 
to McCormick and a War Trade Board, upon which should sit 
representatives of the Treasury, State, Agriculture, and Commerce 
Departments as well as those of the Food Administration and the 
Shipping Board. The power over the export of 'coin, bullion, or 
currency' he retained for himself, assigning shares in administration 


to the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System; it escaped repeal 
when the war laws had done their work, and a later President 
found this within his arsenal of powers when panic in 1933 pro- 
duced a crisis hardly second to that of war. The other powers to 
license imports and exports and to block enemy trade were ad- 
ministered by McCormick through what became fifth among the 
war administrations. 

The aim of the War Trade Board was to complete the com- 
mercial and financial isolation of the enemy, to obtain supplies 
essential for the United States, and to conserve ocean tonnage. 
In the last projects it worked in close association with the Shipping 
Board and the War Industries Board* For the purposes of the 
others it built up an organization in Washington and sent its agents 
around the world. 

Its bureaus of exports and of imports broadened their control as 
the war ran on. Beginning with limited lists of commodities and 
limited areas of origin or destination, their duties and powers were 
extended until in February, 191 8, all imports and exports were 
required to be licensed. The detailed knowledge of commodities 
upon which license control was operated was drawn from trade 
advisers, from the Food and Fuel Administrations, and from the 
commodity sections of the War Industries Board. The bureaus 
co-operated with British and French agencies of like character, to 
dig out knowledge about enemy firms in neutral countries and to 
make blacklists comprehensive and effective. The 'enemy cloak 
lists 5 provide interesting testimony to the efforts of the enemy to 
hide his hand. 

The applicants for licenses had to meet the scrutiny of an intelli- 
gence bureau, which exchanged information with the intelligence 
divisions of Army, Navy, and the Department of Justice. Persons 
who desired to be permitted to trade were investigated. The in- 
vestigations were carried into neutral countries by agents, open or 
under cover, who used their wits to develop devices with which to 
baffle the efforts of enemy firms to disguise themselves. By Novem- 
ber, 1918, the War Trade Board had 2789 employees at work, with 
its largest units devoting their attention to exports and war trade 


There was no logical reason for adding to the Trading- with-the- 
Enemy Act the clauses dealing with opinion and elaborating the 
powers conferred upon the Government by the Espionage Act. 
The Senate, however, was worried by expressions of dissent and 
was driven by constituents whose intolerance grew upon them. 
Numerous proposals to crack down upon radicals, pacifists, and 
pro-Germans found their way to the Senate files, and a selection 
from them was attached as a rider to the bill under consideration. 
The Senate insisted and the House yielded, with the result that the 
war powers of the Government were crowded more closely upon 
the constitutional guaranties of free speech and free press. 

The President was authorized, whenever he should 'deem that 
the public safety demands it,' to operate a censorship over all 
channels of communication between the United States and other 
countries. The law forbade (unless under license from the Presi- 
dent) any international communication 'except in the regular 
course of the mail/ and made it unlawful to communicate or at- 
tempt to communicate with c an enemy or ally of the enemy.' 
The unmailable varieties of communication were defined in detail 
so complete that a mails, cable, and radio censorship could be 
operated with whatever rigor appeared desirable. There was no 
doubt, upon constitutional grounds, of the right of the Govern- 
ment to exercise this power. It was entirely expedient, in time of 
war, to have a means of blocking disloyal or indiscreet transmission 
of information. But the result, an outrage in the mind of radicals, 
was a shock to the feelings of many who gave complete support to 
the fact and aims of war. In the Executive Order of October 12, 
Wilson vested in a Censorship Board (representatives of War, 
Navy, Post Office, War Trade, and the Committee on Public 
Information) the administration of rules governing communica- 
tion between the United States and any foreign country by any 

The last section of the act, section nineteen, was assigned to the 
Postmaster-General for enforcement, and rounded out the powers 
to exclude unmailable material that had already been conferred 
by the Espionage Act. It was in the fourth week of September 


when the amendment of Myers of Montana (whose State was soon 
to set a bad example with violent criminal syndicalism and sedition 
laws) was pressed upon the act in the Senate. The People's 
Council was in the papers. There were incipient strikes through- 
out the West. The I.W.W. was responsible for much loose talk and 
was charged with more. There was still suggestion that the alien 
enemies in the United States were treacherous. If Myers had had 
his way it would have become unlawful during the war "to utter 
any disloyal, threatening, violent, scurrilous, defamatory, abusive, 
or seditious language about 3 the Government, the President, the 
Constitution, the flag, the Army, the Navy, the soldiers, or the 
sailors, or any language calculated to bring any of them into 
'contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute.' The Myers amend- 
ment failed now to be adopted (although Congress caught up to it 
in six months), but in its place King of Utah submitted and 
secured the adoption of a less sweeping proscription of utterance. 

The King amendment struck at the foreign-language press, 
requiring it to file, in advance of publication, a correct English 
translation of any material dealing with the countries at war or 
with their policies. The local postmaster was to receive the trans- 
lations, and the Postmaster-General was permitted to waive the 
requirement in the case of such publishers as were not likely to 
cause 'detriment to the United States in the conduct of the present 
war. 3 The new authority over the foreign-language press and the 
new definition of unmailable communication, added to the powers 
previously conferred upon him, gave to the Postmaster-General a 
set of duties incongruous with Ms principal task. Persons who 
violated the law did not generally receive the trial and conviction 
to which even law violators are entitled. They were punished by 
administrative order without easy redress. Those who needed 
restraint were enraged, as was to be expected. Those who feared 
bureaucracy and the loss of reasonable freedom were made nerv- 
ous. But section nineteen was additional evidence of the solidity 
of opinion that supported the war effort. 

At their worst the various restrictions were less severe than 
their counterparts prevailing among the other belligerents. 


Secretary Daniels was among those cross-examined before com- 
mittees of Congress, when that body convened for the winter 
session. Fred A. Britten of Chicago, with enough Germans 
among his constituents to make him responsive to their rights, 
heckled the Secretary of the Navy mildly, and evoked from 
Daniels the reply: 'The facts are we have no censorship of the 
press. . . . We request the press not to print certain things . . . 
there is no law or power to compel them to comply . . . but that 
mere request as to 98 per cent of the newspapers is absolutely as 
good as law ... if a paper should be treasonable, it can be denied 
the mails . . . [but] they are very few. 3 And to this Britten rejoined: 
Thank God for that/ 



NTEREST on the First Liberty Loan began to run on June 15, 
1917, with the Treasury still uncertain how much it could raise 
during the first year of war or how much it could spend. Both had 
limits. Wars can be fought only with goods on hand or with goods 
manufactured while the war is waged. The economic strength 
that backs armies and produces the sinews of war is an intangible 
existing at the moment of any declaration, and is certain to be 
depleted if war is prolonged toward the moment of exhaustion. 
The fiscal bookkeeping whereby the ownership of this economic 
strength is transferred from the citizen to the nation becomes a 
matter of public policy. It may make the rich richer and the poor 
poorer, or it may wipe out the rich to the disadvantage of the poor. 
No fiscal system is sound, in the long run, unless it leaves the tax- 
payer who has paid his tax in a position in which he may hope to 
earn enough to pay another tax next year. Single cropping, too 
long indulged in, bankrupts the farmer; unsound taxation defeats 
its own intent by destroying the very base upon which it is levied. 
'The power to tax' is indeed c the power to destroy.' 

If perfect fiscal wisdom were procurable it might conceivably 
spread the whole profit and loss of war upon the whole population, 
in precise proportion to the suffering and advantage of every 
individual and every group. But if there were perfect wisdom in 
control of governments, there would be no war. In an imperfect 
world, however, the imperative need to spend, driven by fear of 
defeat, compels a fiscal policy based more upon the immediate 
productiveness of measures than upon their ultimate wisdom. 
There is some small chance of correcting the injustices of war 
finance by subsequent taxation, whereby "unwarrantable profits 


are recaptured by the nation; but the chance Is weakened by the 
slight political mobility of the small citizens who pay the taxes and 
the extreme agility of accumulated wealth. There cannot be great 
accuracy in any laws passed under pressure. There has been no 
war in which the suffering was ended at the peace. 

For the Treasury of the United States, as the scope of war 
expenditures broadened, it was a matter of guessing how much 
could be raised, and upon what terms. The people had to pay. 
It was both right and politic to make them pay as much of current 
cost out of current taxes as could be accomplished; but no one was 
so innocent as to believe that debt could be avoided. This debt, 
owed by the Government to the people, could be got rid of only 
by shifting it upon the shoulders of the people. There were only 
two ways of making this shift: those of taxation and of repudiation. 
And here every interest would pull or push to save itself. McAdoo 
could not hope to spend more than he could raise. 

It was doubtful whether he could spend, during the first year, 
even this much. The people of the United States had a high stand- 
ard of life, as standards went, and could tighten the belt many 
times before exhaustion. The credit of the Government was nearly 
perfect, reinforced by the policy that restored gold payments in 
1879 and by the vote that rejected free silver in 1896. The size of 
loans that could be raised was limited only by the terms of the 
contracts and the interest rate. But the expenditure of billions 
could not start at top speed from scratch. The first six months of 
war were months of planning how to spend with war producers 
not yet in quantity production. Not until the second year of war 
could it be expected to spend as much as was desirable to invest in 

The ease with which the first loan was raised testified to the 
abundant resources of the United States, to the fluidity of its 
wealth, and to the usefulness of the Federal Reserve System. The 
banking reforms of 1913 had produced a financial mechanism able 
to meet the calls of war finance. There was no need for any 
finance-in-desperation such as Chase had operated in the Civil 
War; no need to find a twentieth-century Jay Cooke to persuade 


and bully; no need to fill an empty Treasury with outright fiat 
money like the greenbacks. The four million buyers of the first 
loan became as many promoters of the next. The Federal Reserve 
Banks knew from the first experience how to improve upon it in 
the second. The volunteers who solicited bond subscriptions put 
their organization upon a permanent basis, to endure through the 
war, and got more pleasure from their work than they anticipated. 

The short-term loans (Treasury Certificates) authorized in the 
loan act of April 24 proved their usefulness before it became 
necessary to make a second drive for bonds. Sold through the 
Federal Reserve Banks, they simplified the transfer of funds and 
spread the financial load so as to prevent undue crowding at single 
dates. They provided a basis for estimate of the amount that must 
be raised by bonds. Eight times before Congress adjourned in 
October, the Treasury w r ent to the banks for from two hundred to 
four hundred millions at an issue, without running over the maxi- 
mum of two billions permitted to be outstanding at one time. 
Four of the issues, maturing, had been paid off before Congress on 
September 24 passed a second loan act in anticipation of a second 

No pressure was needed behind this second act. McAdoo held 
off his request for authority as long as possible, so as to have the 
fullest picture of his need. The critics of war finance, and those 
who desired to produce out of revenue legislation something 
more than sinews of war, raised no serious objections. They with- 
held their fire for the revenue measure, recognizing that until a 
tax was voted there was no way of avoiding loans. 

The second loan act gave the President authority to borrow at 
four per cent (raising the rate from the three and one-half per cent 
of April) and left the bonds tax-free with respect to ordinary taxes. 
There was no convincing reason why Government bonds should be 
tax-free, except that they were thereby made more attractive to 
investors. The exemption had originated at a time when there 
were so few taxes to be escaped that it had meant little. Now, in 
an age of income taxes, estate taxes, and progressive surtaxes, the 
freedom from deduction by either Nation or State gave an ad- 


vantage to the rich investor that made Mm a target in politics. 
The 'bloated bondholder' of Civil War days was bloated because 
he was paid in gold when other creditors of the Government were 
forced to accept depreciated greenbacks. The bondholder was 
now to value his exemption as worth more to him than the gold 
clause. The bonds of the first loan were free of everything but 
estate and inheritance taxes. The new bonds were somewhat less 
desirable and were therefore entitled to a higher rate, since in 
addition to estate and inheritance taxes they were liable for in- 
come surtaxes thereafter to be imposed. 

Like those of the first act, the new bonds were made convertible 
by the holders into bonds of later issues. Congress fixed the 
authorized total of the new four per cent loan at $75538,945,460. 
In addition to this amount, it authorized a new type of loan, in 
small sums covered by War Savings Certificates, to a total of two 
billions. It raised the maximum of short-time loans to four 
billions outstanding at one time. And it authorized the Treasury 
to continue the policy of loans to those countries 'engaged in war 
with the enemies of the United States. 5 Four billions were ear- 
marked for this. 

McAdoo was preparing for his second loan while Congress com- 
pleted the draft of the enabling act. The drive began on October 
i, with interest on the loan to run from November 15. Subscrip- 
tions were invited for three billions in four per cent bonds, due in 
twenty-five years but callable earlier. The first loan had been 
oversubscribed, and the Treasury had rejected oversubscriptions. 
The Secretary now reserved the right to accept half of the over- 
subscriptions, and took again to the road to inspire his solicitors 
and the co-operating committees. Sergeant Arthur Guy Empey, 
back from service with the British and author of Over the Top by an 
American Soldier Who Went (1917), went on the road also, a thrilling 
speaker with grewsome descriptions that built up hate. Donald 
M. Ryerson's Four-Minute Men, under the auspices of the Com- 
mittee on Public Information, mobilized themselves in the 
theaters. The speakers' bureaus, whether of the Treasury, the 
C.P.I., the Food Administration, or the councils of defense, helped 


in the push. The State Department provided more testimony 
against the enemy by releasing more intercepted dispatches, 
among them the famous spurlos versenkt advice from Luxburg, 
German charge in the Argentine. In this it was suggested that 
certain merchant ships at sea 3 whose destruction could not be 
defended if discovered, be c sunk without a trace being left. 5 
The Second Liberty Loan was a success, oversubscribed by half, 
with more than twice as many buyers as the first. To 9,400,000 
Investors McAdoo finally assigned bonds to the amount of 3,808- 

The War Savings Certificates were launched in December with 
a drive directed by Frank A. Vanderlip. Like the Liberty Bonds, 
the certificates had their place in morale as well as in finance. It 
was Hamlltonian doctrine, and sound doctrine, too, to spread 
among the citizens a financial interest in the solvency of the State. 
Every holder of a bond payable, principal and interest, c in United 
States gold coin of the present standard of value' (the acts were 
identical In this), held a stake in the Government. Patriotism and 
profit were combined. It gave no small stability to opinion when 
four million creditors were listed. There were well above twice 
that many now, and more than half as many as had voted for 
President in 1916. 

But even so little as fifty dollars, the minimum amount of any 
bond, was too much to be swung by every American. Vanderlip 
undertook to bring the war home to the citizen of petty savings 
and to inculcate thrift as a by-product. War savings could be 
accumulated twenty-five cents at a time, in the form of stamps 
pasted on a card; the same to be turned in at prices ranging from 
$4. 12 to $4.23 for certificates with a face value of five dollars and 
a maturity of January I, 1923. Every post office and every rural 
carrier soon had the stamps for sale. More than $834,000,000 was 
borrowed by this device in twelve months, leaving the Secretary 
so happy with the venture as to hope that it might become c a con- 
tinuing feature of the Nation's financing even after the restoration 
of peace.' 

At no time was Congress compelled to go slowly on appropria- 


tlons for fear of lack of funds. The Treasury had closed the fiscal 
year ending June 30, 1917, with an excess of receipts for the year 
of $788,000,000 over disbursements. It had paid out in all 
$2,0803000,000 (of which $932,000,000 went to the Allies), and 
had taken in $ 1,118., 000,000 from taxes and $1,750,000,000 
from loans. But it had not begun to spend. McAdoo made his 
estimates for the fiscal year 1917-18 a jump at a time, as he 
learned of new requirements, and ended at about twelve billions, 
exclusive of foreign loans. The Congress, in its appropriations, 
gave reality to the estimates. It authorized expenditures or com- 
mitments up to twenty-one billions, with the leading items run- 
ning in millions to 891 1 for the Army, 1875 for the Navy, 1889 f r 
the Emergency Fleet, and 7000 for loans to the Allies. The com- 
mittees concerned, those on Ways and Means in the House and on 
Finance in the Senate, began early in the session to work upon 
such a revision of the taxing laws as would be entailed by the 
expenditures; but the drafting of the measure had to be postponed 
repeatedly because of the discovery of some huge new cost or 
some new deficiency in revenue. Their work was not done upon 
the introduction of the measure. It had to be steered, and rebuilt 
as steered, until the very end of the session. 

From a fiscal standpoint, the greatest uncertainty was alcohol. 
Long, with tobacco, a heavy contributor to the internal revenue, 
its standing as a fiscal reliance was threatened from two sides, 
and shaken from each while the revenue bill was under debate. 
The advance of prohibition had been persistent and successful 
for the last decade. From local option to State-wide prohibi- 
tion, and thence toward national prohibition by constitutional 
amendment, it had been driven by an organized pressure of dry 
forces. Every year showed a larger dry area upon the map. War 
did not stop the drive. On August i, 1917, the Senate surrendered 
to the demand, sending to the House the Sheppard amendment. 
Half the States voted solid delegations for it when it passed the 
House. Thirty-three States were dry by their own choice when 
the amendment was ready for submission on December 18. By 
the terms of the amendment the States had seven years in which 


to ratify It; it took them only thirteen months. It was far from 
certain how successful the measure would be as a social reform, 
but it could be foreseen that upon ratification the Government 
would lose a source of certain revenue. 

The other attack upon alcohol was grounded on the belief that 
its manufacture was a non-essential use of foodstuffs in time of war. 
The distilling of alcohol for beverage purposes was forbidden by 
the Lever Act in August, and the President was authorized to 
prohibit the use of grain for brewing. Until Congress had shown 
its hand on these matters it was not possible even to guess at the 
revenue that might be derived from alcohol. The prohibition 
upon manufacture did not extend to the sale of alcoholic liquors 
already made and in bond. These could be taxed, and were. They 
were made to yield, in the last months before the Eighteenth 
Amendment went into effect, more revenue than ever before. 
Spirits and fermented liquors had contributed 283 millions in 
1917; they were stepped up to 433 millions in 1918, and to 483 
millions in 1919. Behind both attacks upon the manufacture of 
alcohol was an increasing demand that the consumption as well 
as manufacture ought to be forbidden as a war measure, even in 
advance of the adoption of the amendment. But compliance with 
this was avoided for another year. 

The revenue bill came into the House early in May, with Ford- 
ney of Michigan opening the debate for the Committee on Ways 
and Means on the eleventh. It was significant that he opened, 
rather than Kitchin of North Carolina, the chairman, for Fordney 
was a Republican. They had a unanimous report to present 
unusual in financial legislation. Members of the committee, 
whether majority Democrats or minority Republicans, went out 
of their way to praise the patriotism of their normal opponents. 
They were consciously breaking new gound in American taxation, 
and labored as diligently and as crudely as pioneers must. When 
the House finished with the bill May 23 (with a vote of 329 to 21), 
the Senate Finance Committee worked as resolutely as the Com- 
mittee on Ways and Means had done, thought as highly of the 
patriotic diligence of all concerned, but fell short of unanimity 


when at last ready to report the measure to the Senate. Yet the 
Senate passed the bill September 10, by vote of 69 to 4, the 
quartet of dissenters being Borah, Gronna, La Follette, and 

It was war compulsion rather than a coming together of minds 
that produced near unanimity. More than one Republican in 
either house made his apology for agreement with Democrats. 
Fordney covered his unusual alliance with the story of a lad dig- 
ging potatoes, of whom a passer-by inquired, e "My son, what are 
you getting for doing this?"' To which replied the boy, CC I get 
nothing for doing it, but I will get hell if I do not do it." ' The 
House received his confession with laughter, and settled down on 
May 1 1 to a task that was not completed until the President signed 
the bill October 3. The bill, as introduced, proposed to raise by 
taxation in the next fiscal year the sum of 1800 millions, but there 
was no visibility along its ceiling. Within a week McAdoo raised 
his requirement to 2245 millions, and all Kitchin could reply to 
inquiries as to maxima was, e We can find out as we go along/ 
When the Senate Finance Committee was ready to report the bill 
(after the passage of the food bill had settled the fate of the alcohol 
schedules), Simmons thought the measure would add 2009 mil- 
lions to the resources of the Government, and it was estimated that 
taxes would run alongside loans at about the ratio of 35 to 65. 
It passed the Senate estimated at 2416 millions. The conference 
report left it at 2535 millions, these in excess of the measures of 
internal taxation already in force. When, however, the final 
figures for the revenue of 1917-18 were available in the report of 
the Secretary of the Treasury at the end of 1918, the fact proved 
to be better than the guess. The total receipts from taxation 
amounted to 4174 millions, of which 3694 came from the internal 
revenue, as against 809 millions from the same source in 1917. 
The new law worked an increase of 2885 millions over the internal 
revenue total of the previous year. 

There was agreement upon the fundamental basis of the tax, an 
agreement in which President and Secretary of the Treasury con- 
curred with both parties and all factions in Congress as well as 


with, vocal comment upon the measure as it was driven along. 
The war was to cause as small a burden for posterity as was pos- 
sible. It was to be carried out of current taxes as far as could be 
done without wrecking the business that must pay the tax. Dis- 
agreement began, after the acceptance of the principle, as soon as 
a place was suggested at which to stop taxing and to begin to 
borrow. The dissension prevented a unanimous report to the 
Senate from the Finance Committee. It was best expressed and 
most effectively led by La Follette, who was never able to be quite 
convincing as to his motive. There was so much indubitably 
sound finance in his minority proposals that he commanded re- 
spect as he heckled, however greatly he irritated. But he could 
not persuade either his colleagues or the public of the complete- 
ness of his interest in war finance, since there was so much that 
looked like a hang-over from his prolonged antipathy to big busi- 
ness, its habits, and its social tendencies. 

As the debate drew to a close in the Senate his numerous 
amendments were rejected one by one. At the very end he offered 
a complete bill, constructed in his office, as a substitute for the 
project upon which the Senate had been w r orking for a month, and 
upon which the Finance Committee had worked eleven weeks 
before the Senate took it up. The fourteen Senators who stood by 
him when the Senate turned this down, 65 to 15, read like a roster 
of Progressives and near-Progressives. The speeches they made, 
rarely as sound as his, contain much to suggest a social rather than 
a fiscal aim as dominating their minds. They were Borah, Brady, 
Gore, Gronna, Hardwick, Hollis, Husting, Johnson (California), 
Jones (Washington), Kenyon, McNary, Norris, Reed, and Varda- 

La Follette was not content to carry as little of the cost as thirty- 
five per cent from taxes. He would have paid the whole cost out 
of current receipts had it been possible. His philosophy was not 
far from that which Amos Pinchot, through his American Com- 
mittee on War Finance, had urged upon Congress. If a 'pay-as- 
you-go* war should make wealth regret that it had helped to make 
the war and this both Pinchot and La Follette believed there 


would be some satisfaction in voting taxes. If it should prevent the 
war from increasing the concentration of American wealth in the 
hands of those to whom the Progressives had already given painful 
prominence as 'money trust/ it would work some social benefit. 
The supporters of the La Follette proposals, and those made under 
his wing, were left cold by the contention of business that a pay-as- 
you-go war would destroy both it and the power of the United 
States to carry on the war. They had long since ceased to believe 
what business said about itself. 

Differing with the majority forces upon the ratio between loans 
and taxes, the opposition differed also upon the subjects for taxa- 
tion. The House proposal, and the bill as passed, taxed everything 
in sight. Chewing gum and soft drinks, automobiles and bank 
checks, postal rate for letters, graphophones, moving-picture films 
and theater tickets, as well as incomes, war profits, and estates, 
were made to pay their share. La Follette worked earnestly to 
avoid the excise and nuisance taxes bearing directly upon the small 
consumer and to place the whole burden of special war taxation 
upon incomes, excess profits, alcohol, and tobacco. The most 
significant debates, becoming sharper as they were prolonged from 
May into October, turned upon the ratio of loans to taxes, the in- 
come tax, the treatment of excess profits, and upon an attempt to 
take away from the publisher the subsidy he had enjoyed since 
1885 in the form of a flat one-cent-per-pound rate on second-class 

It was protested in both houses that a reform of the postal system 
was not properly to be included in a revenue measure. There was 
no serious objection to an increase in the letter rate from two to 
three cents, but the attempt to readjust the rate for newspapers and 
periodicals, in the second-class schedule, aroused concerted oppo- 
sition that was met by violent advocacy of the change. The project 
was politically explosive, even in war time. When the matter was 
under discussion in the first Wilson Administration, the editor of 
the American Tkresherman emitted a warning to Democrats: 'If you 
desire to bring the same fate upon your party which befell the Taft 
Administration and caused its downfall, increase the second-class 


postage rates.' It was common gossip that Taft owed many of his 
misfortunes to his unpopularity with the newspapers, an unpopu- 
larity earned by the failure to put print paper on the free list in 
the Payne-Aldrich Tariff. The newspapers were sensitive to any 
change in the law likely to cost them money. They were disposed 
to claim a greater virtue than they had, disavowing self-interest, 
and to base their arguments upon the importance of an untram- 
meled press. They were the medium through which the congress- 
man knew his constituency, and his constituency him; and their 
power to wreck careers made legislators cautious. Their anger at 
the Payne-Aldrich bill, said Fordney, put some of my best friends 
out of Congress. 5 But the House bill proposed to take from them 
the subsidy, repeal the flat rate, and base postal charges on a zone 

It would be possible to take the one-cent rate as a text, and to 
write beneath it much of the cultural history of a generation. 
It was avowedly a subsidy. Except for it, 'Cyclone' Davis once 
declaimed, the buffalo and the Indian would still be roaming over 
the West. It was true that the Indian and the buffalo had generally 
ceased to roam before the subsidy was first voted in 1885, kut 
Davis* s statement was perhaps not too inaccurate for oratorical 
purposes. It belonged to that view of the postal service in which 
the dissemination of knowledge was a proper national function. 
When the rate was made, American periodicals dealt in news; now, 
when it was proposed to change it, they dealt in advertisement, 
with news in many cases only a side line. The rate was not based 
on cost of service when voted; in 1917 most of the speeches re- 
peated the charge that it yielded only eleven millions in revenue 
yet cost one hundred millions to operate. The small-town papers, 
delivered by carrier, thought it a graft. The small-town merchant 
resented the advertisements of the great papers and the magazines 
that lured away his customers. 

Trade and life had changed in a generation; business had be- 
come national; great corporations assembled incomes that made 
them targets of jealous fear. The United States was indeed spend- 
ing large sums to make it easier for big publishing business to get 


bigger, yet there was some truth in the contention made by the 
publishers. The subsidy earned an indirect profit, shown in first- 
class postage receipts as the result of correspondence stimulated by 
national advertisement. The desire to use the revenue act as a 
means of correcting an abuse persisted through the debate. 

The House passed the bill carrying the new zone rate. The 
Senate listened to long debate in which the Saturday Evening Post 
was generally the villain, and contented itself with a moderate 
increase in the flat rate. As the bill came from conference and 
became a law it carried a compromise unsatisfactory to everyone 
and timidly deferred its operation until July z, 1918. Thereafter, a 
new basis was to be reached gradually through a period of four 
years. The act placed one rate upon reading matter and a higher 
rate upon advertising matter, and established a zone system in 
which the rate increased with the distance. But it permitted the 
publisher to evade the higher distance rates by shipping his 
periodical by freight to the town of delivery, and paying only 
minimum postage to the Government. Burleson objected to 'the 
use of the postal system for raising war revenue 5 ; Simmons did not 
believe in it and hoped that before the clumsy scheme became 
operative a better law would have been enacted as a postal meas- 

There was running debate upon the ratio of loans to taxes 
throughout the whole engagement. The pay-as-you-go war, in 
which the whole of the extra cost should be raised while the war 
was being fought, was only an ideal. Its proponents had no 
expectation that it could be realized. When they alluded to it, as 
some of them did at every turn of the debate, it was for the purpose 
of strengthening their argument that the proposed taxes were too 
light. But probably those who believed it to be a fiscal possibility 
were more numerous than those who openly advocated leaving 
taxes as they were and placing the whole burden of war finance 
upon the loans. 

Between the two extremes, the congressional veterans of both 
parties were in pretty good agreement upon the necessity for heavy 
new imposts, differing chiefly in their judgment as to how heavy. 


The Republican elder statesmen, Penrose, Smoot, Lodge, and the 
others who had gone through the mill with earlier revenue laws, 
were unwilling that the business which must pay the tax should be 
rendered unable to pay it because of the burden of the tax itself. 
Lodge, who agreed with La Follette in little else, agreed with him 
that the 'two vital questions' were the proportion to be raised by 
taxation and the imposition of such taxation c so as to maintain 
business in the highest state of productivity and activity.' Said 
Lodge: c a just mean must be found . . . between John TrumbulFs 
often-quoted line, "What is posterity to us," and the proposition to 
raise all the expenditures by taxation.' The Republican Senators 
made much of the need of industry, expanding to do war business, 
to retain a large share of the profits for capital investment. They 
were on firm ground when insisting that unless business could com- 
mand capital by offering a prospect of earning income on the in- 
vestment it could not serve the Nation. They resented as dema- 
gogic that part of the opposing argument that connected guilt with 
wealth and treated war taxation as a proper punishment for those 
who paid the tax. 

There were valid questions to be asked which remained un- 
answered, as to the amounts that could be raised. Before the de- 
bate had continued many weeks the minimum requirements of the 
Treasury had gone beyond all experience. The statisticians who 
computed probable yields were forced to guess. The British experi- 
ence with war taxes was studied for the light it might throw upon 
the problem of the United States, but it threw too little to illumine 
it. Nowhere else was there to be found quite the same complex of 
overlapping State and Federal taxes with the result of double taxa- 
tion for some and possible evasion for others. Upon neither side of 
the argument did the sensible legislators estimate largely enough 
the financial strength of the American people or suspect the ease 
with which the war levies were finally to be paid. They might, 
perhaps, have drawn more fully from Civil War experience, 
noting the rapidity with which revenues were built up between 
1 86 1 and 1865, the deep penetration of prosperity in spite of war, 
and the willingness with which their constituents had paid the 


bills. Fear of what the voters might do to them was as much of a 
deterrent as fear that they might lay on the people burdens heavier 
than could be borne. But they could not well know more than 
they knew, as they blazed new trails through the financial woods. 
Their pioneer predecessors might have told them that between 
the squeals of a pinched pig and his actual suffering there is no 
dependable connection. Not until the taxes they voted now were 
collected could they have a realization of the full American 
economic strength. So long as Senators continued to be uncertain 
about this, they feared to advance beyond popular willingness to 
accept or financial ability to meet the levy. 

The Progressive-minded group, with most of the Administration 
Democrats at its head, pushed steadily for greater revenues. It 
believed, beyond its capacity to prove the matter, that business 
could pay. It was responsive to the idea that, whatever the system 
or the rate, the small-income American was paying and would 
continue to pay a larger tax in proportion to his ability to pay than 
Americans of wealth. 

Wages and tables of average prices were studied and quoted. 
Government had gone a long way toward 'dead reckoning' in 
finance since the publication of the Aldrich Report a quarter- 
century earlier, even if the law-makers could not agree on the 
interpretation of the tables of statistics. Amos Pinchot maintained 
that in the years 1900-14 the wages of 'small people' had ad- 
vanced some twenty-seven per cent, lagging always behind the 
cost of living which had risen forty per cent. This was before the 
war. The cost of living was now advancing even more rapidly, 
while the mutterings of wage-earners were turning into labor con- 
troversy which embarrassed war production in every branch. It 
was sound finance and policy not to tax business so heavily that it 
could not pay; it was even sounder to protect the average American 
in his economic status. The figures were not yet available to meas- 
ure that status with precision, but in 1921 the National Bureau of 
Economic Research worked it out that in 1913 the average per 
capita income of Americans was $354, a little less than a dollar a 
day per person. Out of an income of this dimension citizens must 


maintain themselves, meet the costs of casualty, and support their 
Government in peace or war. In the final construction of the 
revenue act of 1917 the party leaders were pressed by extremists 
from either side, and the major controversies turned upon the 
fiscal treatment of profits derived directly from war and upon the 
income tax. Few things that were taxable were able to escape a 
share of the tax. La Follette's contention that the whole of the tax 
must come from income,, excess profit, alcohol, and tobacco was 

War profits made an appearance in American legislation before 
the United States became involved in war. It had been necessary 
to reconstruct the revenue laws after the outbreak of war in Europe 
in 1914 because the immediate consequence of the war was a 
decline in American imports which resulted in a decline in the 
revenue derived from the tariff. In October, 1914, the internal- 
revenue schedules were revised upward, and stamp taxes were im- 
posed in a stop-gap measure that remained in operation until the 
end of 1916. 

The income tax was still in the experimental stage, subject to 
more experiment. Each year that the income tax was collected 
added to the skill of the Treasury in refining definitions and 
recovering losses due to fraud or confusion. Each additional 
annual return made by corporations or individuals made it a little 
harder next year to evade the imposition. In the Treasury accu- 
mulation of annual dossiers the history and dimension of every 
important fortune was written and checked. When in 1916 estate 
taxation was imposed, the work of the field examiners upon the 
inventories of estates was made to supplement and support the 
efforts of the income-tax collectors. No estate could get clearance 
until it was shown that income-tax requirements had been met. 
For the fiscal purposes of the United States it made no difference 
whether the income was honestly procured or came from crime. 
It was required to be declared, and in due time the Federal peni- 
tentiaries opened to welcome, on the charge of tax evasion, crimi- 
nals whose crimes had been too subtle for grand and petty juries. 

The internal-revenue laws were revised again in September, 


1916, greatly to the advantage of the Federal income, and estate 
taxation was built into the system. The individual income tax of a 
single person, based in 1913 upon one per cent of the net income 
above three thousand dollars, was raised to two per cent, with 
graduated surtaxes upon the larger incomes. The corporation 
income tax, first voted in 1909 at one per cent on net, was doubled 
to two per cent and the manufacturers of what the law defined as 
'munitions' were required to pay in addition a tax of twelve and 
one-half per cent upon net income derived from such manufacture. 
With war business booming and its high prices creating unusual 
profits, the beneficiaries of war were an easy and appropriate 
mark. They had quick profits that could be reached. They were 
in a trade which drew its gains from human misfortune and which 
had few friends outside its participants. The European belligerents 
discovered in these war profits a rich source of revenue, and 
Congress, discovering it in 1916, tapped it again in an amendment 
to the revenue laws in March, 1917. But it had been discovered 
also that other industries than those of munitions derived swollen 
profits from the state of war, and the European effort to seize a 
share of these was now reflected in the imposition by Congress of 
an 'excess-profits' tax. It was necessary to assume for the purpose of 
an excess-profits tax but it had to be an arbitrary assumption 
that a certain amount of income was 'normal' income. Among 
small corporations managed by their owners the rate earned had 
little reference to capitalization, yet little or none of it was 'excess.' 
To protect these small concerns and to establish the arbitrary 
point at which profits should cease to be 'normal' and should 
become 'excess,' the act of March defined normal profit sub- 
stantially as five thousand dollars plus eight per cent on 'the actual 
capital invested in the property or business.' The new law took, in 
addition to all other taxes, eight per cent of so much of the net 
income as was in excess of this amount. The total new revenue to 
be gathered in by this attack upon excess profits was not yet known 
when the war Congress debated the revenue act of 1 9 1 7. But book- 
keeping and accounting were becoming a skilled and controversial 
profession as Government was requiring business to know what it 


was doing well enough to explain its methods and its resources. 

As the problem was uncovered through the long summer of 1917, 
a realization of the gross amount of excess profits and their ripeness 
for taxation grew upon Congress, but sharp differences developed 
as to the proper approach. The House, which had managed to 
force its own proposal upon the Senate in the revenue act of March, 
adhered to the idea that 'excess' profits were both real and taxable, 
and asked that an additional eight per cent (making sixteen per 
cent) be levied upon them. 

The Finance Committee rejected the House proposal, holding 
that while a new surtax was of course to be levied upon incomes 
there was no place at which a defensible line could be drawn be- 
tween profits that were normal and those that were excess. Its 
counter-proposal, in the bill first reported to the Senate July 3, 
embraced a graduated tax (rising by stages from twelve to fifty per 
cent) upon net profits in excess, not of an arbitrary eight per cent, 
but of the average net income for the calendar years 1911, 1912, 
and 1913. 

The final statute was a compromise, reached only after these two 
bases for taxation had been talked out. The House, and the 
Progressive critics in the Senate, maintained with reason that an 
excess-profits tax based upon average earnings in 1911-13 would 
leave untouched great businesses whose earnings in these years 
were already unreasonably high. The United States Steel Corpo- 
ration and Henry Ford were cited, and re-cited. Many concerns 
like these were not earning in 1917 a higher rate upon their capi- 
talization than they had earned in the three pre-war years, yet 
their ability to pay was notorious. The Senate majority, with 
equal reason, insisted that no flat rate of earning, such as five 
thousand dollars and eight per cent, had logical validity in a tax 
whose intent was to seize for the Government a part of the excess 
earnings due to war. No two corporations or individuals earned at 
the same rate. What would mean prosperity for one might mean 
poverty for another. The Senate clung to its idea that the only 
way to measure war excess profits was to measure them against 
the average earnings shown upon the books in time of peace. 


If Senate and House had continued to cling each to Its doctrine of 
war taxation, there could not have been a revenue bill. The con- 
ferees, who received the measure after the Senate had rewritten 
the House provisions and passsed its bill September 10, knew they 
must find a middle course and compromise. There is little evi- 
dence that any of them liked the compromise forced upon the com- 
mittee and upon the two houses by this necessity. The final law 
continued the normal two per cent upon net income of corpora- 
tions and added to this four per cent more similarly assessed. In 
addition also, a new name was coined out of the discussions: 'war 
excess-profits taxes.' These were levied at rates running from 
twenty to sixty per cent. The lower rate was applied when net in- 
come did not exceed fifteen per cent upon invested capital; the 
higher was reached when it exceeded thirty-three per cent. In 
computing the 'war excess-profits taxes' deductions were allowed, 
taking into account the profits of the three pre-war years, before 
assessing the appropriate rate upon the surplus of net income. 
Business did not know what the new law meant. The Treasury 
could not be certain. However, a squad of experienced financiers, 
economists, and business men were hurried into the Treasury as 
c excess-profits tax advisers' to draft the forms and regulations, to 
comfort uneasy industry, and to counsel with the Treasury upon 
its duty under the law. 

The dissenters dissented in part because the high surtaxes were 
not high enough. None went so far as La Follette in drafting a 
complete new law, but they filled the Congressional Record with 
tables showing how large incomes would fare under one rate or 
another and where inequalities in the incidence of the tax would 
pinch. In the same spirit they entered the debate upon the clauses 
of the revenue act in which the individual income tax was stepped 
up to the new necessity. 

A vain belief that large incomes were large enough to carry all 
emergency expenses leaving small folk untouched played its part 
in income-tax discussions. This belief was to grow in popularity 
through two decades after the war and was to become a fiscal 
reliance of financial demagogues. The danger of impoverishing the 


poor and destroying their willingness to persist in the war was 
played up as a reason against lowering the minimum net income 
upon which taxation should begin to operate. The implicit 
wickedness of large incomes was hinted at when it was not 
openly charged and was made a justification for rates in the 
higher brackets that should be punitive rather than fiscal. The 
House finally agreed to lower the minimum from $3000 (in the 
case of an unmarried person) to $1000 and to leave the normal 
rate where the act of 1916 had fixed it, at two per cent. But the 
surtaxes were increased. The act of 1916 had imposed surtaxes 
advancing from one per cent upon incomes above $20,000 to 
thirteen per cent on those above $2,000,000. To these were now 
added new levies, beginning with one per cent on incomes above 
$5000 and rising to fifty per cent on those above Ss,ooo,ooo; so 
that now, in addition to the normal two per cent collected from all 
taxable incomes, the maximum incomes were required to pay 
sixty-three per cent into the Treasury. 

Whether the rates were too high or too low was beyond proof, 
but not beyond impassioned argument. They at least set new 
levels of responsibility upon the citizen and produced revenues 
that made new records. The Government did not run out of 
money. Before the revenue act was signed, congressmen were 
announcing where and how the rates should again be raised. The 
next session kept revision under running fire, but no new law was 
passed until February 24, 1919. And when the books were bal- 
anced in the summer of 1920 a greater share of war costs had been 
raised by taxes in three years of war condition than the world had 
seen before. 



JL HE Revenue Bill came into the House in May, supported by a 
unanimous Committee on Ways and Means. When it reached the 
Senate the unanimity was gone. The favorable report of the 
Finance Committee was trailed by a minority report whose signers 
fought stubbornly for a different kind of act until they were at last 
overridden. While the law was under consideration the aims of the 
war thrust themselves into the debate and demands were made 
that, as a condition precedent to taxes and appropriations, there 
be a clarification of objectives. 

Russia raised the question. The first provisional government, 
formed in March upon the deposition of the Czar, was of a mind to 
continue in the war and to respect the obligations of the secret 
treaties as well as to claim their benefits. There was nothing novel 
in secret treaties; they were a part of the ordinary implementation 
of war. The United States was party to one with England at the 
close of the Revolution when the American peace commissioners 
deserted the French allies and made a secret treaty containing a 
still more secret proviso. The Russian provisional government was 
dislodged in May as the mind of the people shifted leftward, and its 
successor came to power on a pledge to promote a peace based on 
the self-determination of peoples and without annexations or con- 
tributions. The manifesto declaring this intent harmonized with 
the American desire for a peace that would last, but it embarrassed 
the chancery of every nation that either hoped to make conquests 
or had made contracts assuming them. Lord Cecil avowed in 
Commons that Britain had no imperialistic purpose and desired 
only a secure future. The Hearst papers, opposed to entering the 
war, immediately demanded that Congress state the aims of the 
United States. 


Germany took up the cry for terms. The Reichstag resolutions of 
July 19 supported the Russian demand at a moment when Keren- 
sky barely escaped being overthrown by the embattled Bolsheviki. 
The text of the resolutions harmonized well enough with the 
desires of the German Socialists and Liberals, whose coalition put 
them through the Reichstag, but it was hard to believe that the 
Imperial Government, allowing the document to pass the censors, 
accepted its philosophy. It was more reasonable to suppose that 
trickery in the world of ideals w r as being used as a war weapon. 
Yet the language was such as must be welcome to those who 
wanted to believe that aims of conquest had been abandoned. 

The Vatican urged that the war be ended. On August i 
Benedict XV circularized the leaders of the belligerent peoples.' 
The Pope had been Cardinal-Archbishop of Bologna when the 
war broke out, and was enthroned by his Conclave after the death 
of Pius X, just as the French Government slipped away from Paris 
to Bordeaux. He disclaimed 'particular aim 5 and suggested a 
basis for a 'just and durable peace. 5 But before the Papal circular 
was published on August 16, La Follette had issued a manifesto of 
his own, asking the Senate to accept a concurrent resolution (which 
would not require the signature of the President). In his resolu- 
tion La Follette recited the various hints of a possible peace, 
reminded his colleagues that these bespoke 'a willingness to adopt 
the doctrine of "a peace without victory," proclaimed by President 
Wilson on the 22nd day of January, 1917,' and asserted that 
Congress had the 'authority to determine and to declare definitely' 
the objects and purposes of American participation. He wanted 
Congress to announce that the United States would not aid in 
any prolongation of the war c to annex new territory' or to 'enforce 
the payment of indemnities to recover the expenses of the war' for 
any of the belligerents. He urged also a 'public restatement of the 
allied peace terms,' 

The La Follette concurrent resolution was allowed to die on the 
table. A few minutes after its introduction, the Senate took up the 
revenue bill, which was to have priority for the next month. 
It was unavoidable that the Senate discussions should embrace 


both the method of taxation and the motive for it and that those 
who disliked the former should be the more insistent on being 
assured upon the latter. Senators, like their constituents, read 
the papers; and like them, also, they interpreted what was printed 
in accordance with their hopes. Out-of-doors, the peace feelers 
were the subject of wide examination. No Government, in the 
United States or elsewhere, could completely ignore the deep 
popular hope that the war would stop. So deep was the hope, and 
so widely was it held, that many who examined the proposals 
were content to accept the words as uttered, to assume that they 
fairly represented intentions, and to decide that the war had been 
won, leaving now only the incorporation of the generous senti- 
ments in a general treaty of peace. 

The words of the proposals certainly contained lip service to the 
doctrine of 'peace without victory.' So far as Russia was concerned 
it was soon certain that the manifesto of May, not fairly represent- 
ing the desire of the provisional government, was a price paid by it 
for support by the councils of soldiers and workers; and that these 
councils, not permanently content with either the compromise or 
the leaders in power, were swinging into line behind a revolution- 
ary socialism that disavowed patriotism in the ordinary sense and 
aimed at a class dictatorship beginning in Russia and extending to 
the world. 

The German endorsement was soon subject to interpretation in 
the light of German behavior in the treaty negotiations of Brest- 
LitovsL It was not in harmony with the quotable parts of German 
official utterances made since 1914. Unless one could believe that 
the Empire had experienced a change of heart which called for 
a powerful will to believe it was impossible to see in the Reich- 
stag resolutions much more than a trick, clumsily designed to 
deceive those whose hope for peace was stronger than their power 
of discrimination. Those who directed official thought among the 
Allies insisted that Germany had provoked the war as a deliberate 
stroke of policy and that the establishment of a German hegemony 
in Europe was the motive behind it. Obviously since 1914, 
German opinion had dwelt more and more upon the compensa- 


tions the Empire was to obtain by conquest and the punishment it 
was to inflict upon its enemies. The German advance across the 
Balkans and into Asia Minor was no mere matter of self-defense. 
Conquest was the object now, whatever had been in the German 
mind when the war began. Those who believed in German sin- 
cerity were regarded as pro-Germans or pacifists and in either 
capacity as unworthy of trust. 

War for its own sake had no party in the United States. Peace 
had so strong a party that if the proposals were to be disregarded it 
was necessary that the reasons be explained so that Americans 
could understand them, 

It is impossible, in matters of the mind, for the historian to prove 
the connection between what is heard and what is thought. It is 
not often possible to determine what it is that an individual or a 
group regards as its own best interests, and even with best 
interests determined the causal relations between interest and 
action are no more than conjectural. The best the historian can do 
is to present such a circumstantial case as the facts and events 
appear to warrant, and judgments upon motivation must remain 
matters of probability rather than of proof. In spite of the eco- 
nomic determinists the most interesting thing about man is his 
capacity to ignore what all prudent thought would guess to be his 
own best interest, and to risk his life, his family, and his nation for 
no better reason than the grip of an ideal. 

Ideal and interest were both imbedded in the utterances of 
Wilson, and the steps by which opinion in the United States was 
built up to the near unanimity for war prevailing in the spring are 
best to be traced in these utterances. He had at least a reasoned 
doctrine. How well reasoned it was, and how long it had been 
germinating in his mind, have been abundantly documented 
in The Origins of the Foreign Policy of Woodrow Wilson (1937), in 
which Harley Notter, one of the few to know the Wilson papers, 
has analyzed their content. He had, too, the audience. More 
people, more of the time, in more countries, listened to him with 
approval through the nineteen months of American participation 
in the war than listened to any other leader. 


He had seen neutrality through to its end. It is still conceivable 
that there is no better course for a neutral nation than neutrality, 
although it has been demonstrated that if this be not a submissive 
neutrality its logical end is war. Acute critics of American neutral- 
ity in 1914-17 as at heart unneutral, Edwin Borchard and William 
P. Lage, have in Neutrality for the United States (1937) developed the 
thesis that anything but a stern neutrality is in fact an intervention 
friendly to one side or the other. They have shown how hard it is 
for Government to dissociate its corporate attitude from the 
mental status of its people or its administrators. Yet Wilson's 
neutrality, whatever its defects, was so distasteful to both sets of 
belligerents as to invite for itself high credit for sincerity. 

Wilson had at last accepted war only as an evil less disastrous 
than submission. His mind was set to a world of peace and of equal 
rights that had seemed to be ripening in the nineteenth century, 
only to wither in the twentieth. The two chief aspects of the 
dialectic upon which peace had advanced had been the use of 
arbitration as a measure in avoidance of war and the insistence by 
neutrals upon the enjoyment of normal rights even in time of war. 
War itself was a blow to all measures short of war. Belligerent 
encroachment upon neutral right was a menace to neutral interest 
which, if submitted to, would in a few years destroy the gains of a 
century of protest. Wilson went to war, among other things, to 
defend his right to stay out of war. 

More than this, the President had to fear what the military in- 
dices indicated as probable, a victory by the Central Powers and a 
post-war militant attitude by the conqueror. Irritated though the 
United States was by the excesses of the Allies, there was no wide 
fear that the safety of the rest of the world would be endangered 
if they won. But the Pan-German extremists talked a doctrine 
calculated to encourage suspicion that Germany sought world 
domination. As a consequence, the forecast of the future con- 
tained for the United States the shadow of still more pressure to be 
endured or as an alternative to endurance a fully armed existence. 
Within a lifetime the Continental countries had been driven by 
their fears to continuous preparation for war and to compulsory 


military training for their men in time of peace. The United 
States revolted at the thought of similar readiness. Paradoxically 
again, Wilson accepted compulsory selective service in order to 
defend the privilege of the United States to avoid compulsory 

It was the easy route of declamation to declare that the United 
States fought for absolute principles of justice; these were indeed 
the principles without whose general acceptance by the world the 
United States could not live the life it wished to live in safety, 
But behind this abstraction lay the concrete matters of self-defense 
and national interest that no government may ignore in a world of 
competitive nations. 

The first steps in the formulation of an American doctrine of 
war aims were taken in the 'peace without victory' speech; but the 
last steps could not be taken until the war was over, whether the 
peace should be shaped by the cravings of the victor or not. 
Successful war was the only way to procure a peace without a 
master. No public statements m'ore deftly or more soundly as- 
sembled the evidence to this than did those of the President, It 
became his business to prove the obligation upon the United 
States to defend its kind of existence. The war message of April 2 
and the elaboration of it on Flag Day became the common 
divisor for most American minds. The addresses were weak in 
historicity where they stressed his belief that Germany had in cold 
blood provoked the war. But they were strong in realism where 
they displayed the dangers to the United States from war or from 
threats of recurrent war. 

Whatever other reasons there were for American entry, what- 
ever war-wickedness on the part of munitions-makers who were 
also making money, whatever solicitude of bankers to save in- 
vestments, whatever skillful chicanery by the Allies to hypnotize 
the American Government all these were minor to the reasons 
detailed by Woodrow Wilson and accepted with overwhelming 
concurrence by his people. The consequences of staying out 
looked to be more deadly than those of going in; and there was 
room to hope for a better world after peace. 

1 62 WAR AIMS 

The official copy of the letter of the Pope came to Washington 
in August by way of London. This was at the request of Cardinal 
Gasparri, Papal Secretary of State, because the Vatican did not 
maintain diplomatic relations with the United States. The circular 
opened with an affirmation of the pacific mission of the Church, its 
affection for all peoples, and its impartiality toward all belligerents. 
Citing now the fear of the Church that the civilized world become 
'nothing more than a field of death,' it made what it described as 
'a concrete and practical proposal 3 for a 'just and durable peace. 5 
First, was a demand for disarmament, the substitution of arbitra- 
tion for war, and the establishment of e true liberty and com- 
munity of the seas.' It saw no solution for the question of in- 
demnities other than the general principle of Complete and 
reciprocal condonation. 3 Belgium, next, was to be evacuated and 
to receive guaranty of complete independence. Occupied France, 
also, was to be evacuated, as well as the German colonies seized 
by the Allies. The territorial questions of Italy and Austria, of 
Poland, the Balkans, and Armenia, were to be examined in a 
'spirit of equity and justice. 5 And upon these bases 'the future re- 
organization of the peoples ought to be built. 3 c The whole world 
recognizes that the honor of the armies of both sides is safe, 3 said 
the Pope. 'Incline your ears, therefore, to our prayer. 3 

For several days before the note was published, it was known in 
private to the Governments and, according to their respective 
interests, some feared that Wilson would fail to answer it, others 
that he would answer it. That it should be answered by any of the 
Allies was out of the question because the fifteenth article of the 
Treaty of London, whereby Italy joined the Allies in 1915, con- 
tained the specific promise that Great Britain, France, and Russia 
would 'support such opposition as Italy may make to any pro- 
posal in the direction of introducing a representative of the Holy 
See in any peace negotiations. 3 It was Italian conviction that the 
Vatican was an affiliate of Austria. 

The immediate disposition of the President, not an Ally or tied 
by any pact, was to be curt, to give the appeal a mere acknow- 
ledgment, and to proceed with the affairs of war administration. 


The Allies would have preferred such response (unless they had 
themselves been permitted to draft the answer), for their leaders 
were becoming sensitive lest Wilson gain in his growing status as 
spokesman for their own constituents, and fearful lest he should 
express a liberalism inconvenient for them to accept. But the 
Senate had begun to discuss war aims, making it desirable for 
Wilson to maintain his grip on the American doctrine; and Colonel 
House pointed out the opportunity to do more wedge work and, by 
stating the reasons for rejecting the appeal, to strengthen the Ger- 
man Liberals and spread the gap between the enemy peoples 
and their Governments. The only way to avoid, if it could be 
avoided, a controversy among the Allies over national ambitions 
was to build up a picture of the future that should outrank national 
aspiration in its attractiveness and universal appeal. 'Utopia/ 
Owen had said in the Senate, 'is better than hell. 5 'We are now/ 
said Lodge after Wilson had transmitted his reply, 'in a war that 
is purely idealistic.' 

The Official Bulletin carried the reply August 29, two days after 
Robert Lansing had signed and transmitted it. House had seen it 
in draft, had approved it, and had advised an action the President 
took in substituting 'inexpedient' for 'childish* where he referred 
to the 'punitive damages, the dismemberment of empires, the 
establishment of selfish and exclusive economic leagues' that had 
been suggested among the Allies. The Rathenau plan, so to 
conduct the war as to delay the revival of Belgium as an economic 
competitor of Germany, had been matched in an economic con- 
ference of the Allies in 1916 by a plan to secure their economic 
independence of Germany after the war. The word 'childish 3 
appeared to House to be needlessly provocative. He had under 
his eye, as he suggested the amendment, a note from Jusserand in- 
dicating that to France the Vatican appeal was of 'Austro-Ger- 
manic inspiration/ and was no more than 'the German note of 
December last, in a new garb. 5 

Touched by the appeal of His Holiness for a 'stable and enduring 
peace/ the President made Lansing say: 'This agony must not be 
gone through with again/ He noted that the Papal basis of con- 


donation would throw the world back to the status quo ante, from 
which he believed had come the deliberate German attack. 
'The object of this war/ he said, e is to deliver the free peoples of the 
world from the menace and the actual power of a vast military 
establishment controlled by an irresponsible government. 5 Not 
the 'German people' but the 'ruthless master of the German people' 
was the enemy who must not be permitted by the peace of the 
Pope to rebuild his strength. He saw, and he spoke for 'responsible 
statesmen' as though they admitted him to be their spokesman, 
that no peace could rest securely on vindictive restrictions; for the 
United States he desired 'no reprisal upon the German people'; 
peace must be based upon the equal rights of peoples 'great or 
small, weak or powerful' and the test of peace must be whether 
it was based 'upon the word of an ambitious and intriguing 
government,' or upon that of free peoples. 'We cannot take the 
word of the present rulers of Germany as a guarantee of anything 
that is to endure,' he concluded; if peace were now made with the 
German Government, 'no man, no nation' could depend on it. 
He awaited 'some new evidence of the purposes of the great peo- 
ples of the Central Powers. 9 

This evidence was slow to come; but evidence came promptly 
that Wilson's reply had kept his car of doctrine on the track. The 
Senate proponents of immediate negotiation could not be kept 
from talking, but they talked to empty benches. The People's 
Council was shunted from town to town around the Middle West, 
with labor's American Alliance upon its heels. Any expression 
of opinion that peace was within reach was generally taken as near- 
treason or pro-Germanism. Villard noted the wedge work and 
his Nation detected some measure of success for it: 'President 
Wilson put his faith in this liberal Germany when he wrote his 
recent answer to the Pope.' The London Spectator read it with 
interest, and then with admiration: 'A second and longer perusal 
of the answer of the United States has shown the document to be 
not merely worthy of a great statesman and a great nation, but 
one of the most momentous utterances in the History of Mankind.' 
But the hard-boiled London Saturday Review was annoyed. It was 


soon to snap out: "Instead of twaddling about democracy,, If 
Messrs. Wilson and George would talk the only universal lan- 
guage,, viz., .s.d., the Germans would respond immediately.' It 
noted ruefully, in the face of Wilson's disclaimer of punitive 
damages, dismemberment, and economic boycott: 'But these 
negations bar the war aims of England, France, and Italy, as up 
to date they have been promulgated by statesmen. 3 

It was well enough to thrust aside the suggestion that Russia 
and Germany had between them put forward a sufficient reason 
for an immediate conference on terms of peace. There had been 
good reason, too, for the decision reached by the President while 
the War Missions were in Washington in May. He had then let 
the aims of the war pass without argument lest, if they were in- 
jected into the discussion of the form of American aid, the latter 
might be disastrously postponed while the aims caused deadlock. 
From the minute the Missions landed, House advised him 'to 
avoid a discussion of peace settlements.' Out of his travels as 
friend of the President in the past four years Colonel House had 
built up a more extensive acquaintance with practicing statesmen 
in Europe than any other American possessed. They trusted him; 
sounded him before they entered the White House; appraised 
with him their interviews there after they were over. c lf the Allies 
begin to discuss terms among themselves, they will soon hate one 
another worse than they hate Germany/ he wrote the President; 
and he argued out the wisdom of his recommendation with Bal- 
four, discussing with him in private the treaties existing among 
'the Allies as to the division of the spoils after the war.' Those who 
knew anything about the network of secret treaties, whose details 
the Bolsheviki smeared over the world after the final revolution in 
November, knew enough to realize the contentious nature of the 
issue they would some day raise. The United States had even less 
than an interest in the territorial promises of the treaties; it had a 
positive aversion to them. 

The issue presented by the agreements must be faced. Wilson 
was emphatic in rejecting the Papal suggestion of an immediate 
negotiation, yet his mind opened to the importance of preparing 

1 66 WAR AIMS 

for an informed discussion when the time should be ripe. At the 
end of September., House admitted (and the Department of State 
confirmed) that the President had asked him to arrange the data 
that ought to be ready for the peace commissioners when the war 
should end. 

No facts give an unhappier picture of the inadequacy of the 
foreign service of the United States, a foreign service kept starved 
by Congress with the approval of the constituents it served, than 
the facts connected with the organization and work of what was 
soon informally known as the 'House Inquiry.' The Inquiry had 
no other name. It was supported by Wilson out of the President's 
fund. It recruited its workers among journalists and professors. 
House entrusted its administration to his brother-in-law, Sidney E. 
Mezes, president of the College of the City of New York, who 
passed its executive management to Isaiah Bowman, director of the 
American Geographical Society, in whose New York building its 
headquarters were housed. Walter Lippmann, who had been 
doing odd jobs for Baker, and in whose mind was the approach to 
the world prevailing in the offices of the New Republic, became its 
secretary. Justice Brandeis seems to have breathed doctrine into 
its ears. Shotwell of Columbia and Haskins of Harvard were right- 
hand men. And the American specialists in history, geography, 
economics, and government plunged into the task of doing under 
pressure what ought already to have been done, digested, and 
docketed in the files of the Department of State. They reviewed 
the history of the European and Asiatic world, for nearly every 
rivalry of the war dated back to the Middle Ages, if not to Rome 
and Greece. As the Socialist Call said, House was c to prepare a 
"who's who and what's what" for the use of the American Govern- 
ment.' Lansing made no public protest against this encroachment 
upon the proper business of his department. It was insisted that 
the Inquiry had no connection with the notion of immediate peace 
negotiations, but even though the mere existence of the organiza- 
tion should suggest more than was intended, the study needed to 
be made, and at once. It began to be gossiped in Washington that 
the President would himself go to the peace conference when it 
should be held. 


There were, however, many things to be done in the realm of 
ideas before a peace conference could be more than a dream. 
The machinery that was to produce an army was in motion and 
the men who were to constitute it were in camp, although there 
was no known way of getting them to France. The reorganization 
of life, industry, and government for the purpose of supporting the 
army was beginning to produce results. The sinews of war were 
in sight and were to be adequate. But there was no compulsion 
behind it all in the United States except the general conviction 
that the war must be ended in victory before the abolition of war 
could be undertaken. That conviction needed to be kept firm and 
unified. Page was quoting Balfour's fear that c the American energy 
and earnestness in getting into the war, 5 might 'cool with the first 
wave of war-weariness. 5 Only the President could give the cue to 
policy or rationalize it. 

Before the House Inquiry had got beyond listing the names of 
men who might be set to work, Wilson added another unit to the 
structure he was erecting. He had stayed close to his desk in the 
White House through the spring and summer, since he was busy 
and his advisers were not anxious for him to incur the risks of un- 
necessary travel. But in November, after a Tammany mayor, 
John F. Hylan, had with the support of Hearst been elected in 
New York, he slipped quietly out of Washington to Buffalo. There 
he stated the American case to the American Federation of Labor 
assembled in its thirty-seventh annual convention. 

Samuel Gompers was both the figure head of labor in the 
United States and the actual head of the most important organi- 
zation of American workmen. He had presided over the American 
Federation during all but one year of its existence without weaken- 
ing in his conviction that American labor desired economic rather 
than political objectives. Labor radicals, who hoped to shift the 
movement into partisan politics, had short shrift with him between 
conventions and at the annual gatherings he defeated their 
motions on the floor. He came with labor into support of the war, 
although there is no evidence that it needed to be 'brought/ for 
the workers were as American as any other citizens. Gompers 

1 68 WAR AIMS 

worked out the formulation of the understanding that the Govern- 
ment would keep labor from becoming victim to the war. Behind 
his leadership the unions accepted as war duty the admission of 
women apprentices and non-union workers to the shops. What 
was called 'dilution' advanced under war conditions more rapidly 
than could otherwise have been the case without war. The trend 
toward industrial mechanization, obscured though it was by war, 
was already threatening the integrity of the craft unions. Mechan- 
ized factories, with a few skilled workmen in charge and a horde 
of unskilled, were easily set up for war work. 

Gompers did not live to see the open battle in labor ranks be- 
tween the two union points of view, but the advance skirmishes 
in their engagement helped to complicate the status of labor in the 
war. The persistent nagging of Socialist-Labor minorities added 
to the complications, for some of these were pro-German or pro- 
Russian, and others looked as though they were. But the status- 
of unions and the workers was most threatened by the rising cost 
of living which by gradual encroachment nibbled at real 

Labor adjustment, necessary if labor was to be protected, raised 
complicated problems. There were Government factories, facto- 
ries on Government contract work, and establishments of private 
industry. What touched one tended to touch all, for all drew their 
labor from the same reservoir of manhood. It was possible in the 
first two classes to raise wages as required, either to do justice or to 
satisfy demands, and to add the cost to the war budget. The cost- 
plus contracts, such as prevailed in camp construction, made this 
a simple matter, eliminating employer-objection to increases in 
the wage scale. But every shift in the wage scale for Government 
work brought trouble to private business and made the whole 
labor market uneasy. The disposition on the part of much of the 
public to regard all labor controversy as traitorous made it worse. 
The pledge to look after labor had to be implemented. 

Bisbee, Arizona, became an inconvenient object lesson in July. 
Here the I.W.W. was at work in the company towns of the Calu- 
met, Arizona, and Copper Queen mines, whose annual output of 


some seventeen million pounds of copper was an essential part of 
the war supply. Wherever the I.W.W. made trouble it was likely 
to be worse trouble than that of ordinary labor controversy because 
the I.W.W. even in time of peace was regarded as revolutionary in 
its objective. Wherever strife broke out in company towns, 
whether in the anthracite counties of Pennsylvania, or those of the 
precious metals in the Coeur d'Alene, or here in the copper camps 
of Arizona, the trouble was worse than normal, since in company 
towns there was no group of neutral citizens to mediate and act as 
buffer between contending forces. In the absence of a neutral 
population labor strife often comes close to civil war. The Bisbee 
strike w r as called on June 126, and two weeks later the owners 
brought about a measure of peace by a forcible deportation of 1 186 
men. In similar manner Moyer and Haywood of the Western 
Federation of Miners had in 1906 been kidnaped in Colorado 
and carried into the jurisdiction of the Idaho courts. 

Interned at Columbus, New Mexico, the I.W.W. was a festering 
spot regardless of the merit of the labor claim. The strike dragged 
on until in August the Council of National Defense began to think 
out devices. It announced the creation of its own Labor Adjust- 
ment Commission to look after disputes arising under the Federal 
eight-hour day law, and urged the President to send special mis- 
sions to terminate such disputes as that at Bisbee. Baker, for the 
War Department, created a Board of Control of Labor Standards 
for Army Clothing, to keep clothing from the sweatshops, to re- 
move the causes of strife, and to ensure a continuous flow of goods. 
Shipyard labor was entrusted to a joint commission representing 
the Navy, the Emergency Fleet, and the American Federation, 
headed by V. Everit Macy, president of the National Civic Federa- 
tion, with Assistant-Secretary Franklin D. Roosevelt sitting for the 
Navy. The President sent the Secretary of Labor to Bisbee in per- 
son. He went at the head of a President's Mediating Commission, 
whose secretary was Felix Frankfurter, and which brought peace to 
Bisbee before winter came. In its report to Wilson the Frankfurter 
Commission dealt sympathetically with the problems of war labor. 
In January, 1918, it recommended that he set up a 'unified direc- 

1 70 WAR AIMS 

tion of the labor administration of the United States for the period 
of the war.' 

The state of mind of labor was a fundamental charge upon the 
President, not only because it bore upon the continuous flow of 
goods from the factories, but also because the American workman 
preferred status as a citizen to status in an economic class. It was 
wholesome for democracy that he should continue to prefer it. 
In both Ally and enemy countries labor was showing a war weari- 
ness, strengthening thereby the labor parties and giving an opening 
to the penetration of revolutionary socialism from Russia. There 
were two issues before the world: that between the nations, with an 
alliance endeavoring to prevent domination by a military govern- 
ment, and that between classes, with Russia at the spearhead driv- 
ing the purpose of an international socialist revolution. Upon 
those who rejected the latter it was mandatory to convince labor 
that its interest was tied into the former. Wilson was one of these. 
Baker, in unity with him, urged him to go to Buffalo: *I have 
found labor more willing to keep step than capital,' Baker wrote on 
November 10. 

That same evening it was announced that Wilson would address 
the Federation. He left Washington the next day, and on Monday, 
November 12, made his appearance in Buffalo. The visitation 
was timely, for the papers over the week-end were still wrestling 
with the interpretation of what had just happened in Petrograd. 
There, the Navy had joined forces with the Maximilists (who 
wanted all reforms at once) in the great Bolshevik Revolution. 
How great it was, was still in doubt. Without entirely believing it, 
editors ran the story from Kerensky that Russia was still in the war; 
but few of them would have dared to imagine how completely 
Russia was lost as an Ally, or how fundamentally the Russian 
Revolution would shake the world. Trotsky and Lenin had 
come into their own. 

'I want peace, but I know how to get it, and they do not,' said 
the President, speaking of the pacifist agitators, as he addressed 
the American Federation on Monday morning. He recited what 
had become the official story of the origins of the war, and then 


moved to firmer ground as he described the Pan-German objec- 
tives 'absolute control of Austria-Hungary, practical control of 
the Balkan States, control of Turkey, control of Asia Minor' and 
expressed his revulsion against that 'bulk of German power in- 
serted into the heart of the world. 5 He thrust aside the idea that 
peace was near. "What I am opposed to is not the feeling of the 
pacifists, but their stupidity. My heart is with them, but my mind 
had a contempt for them.' What must be done, he said, was to 
stand together "until the job is finished, 5 to make and keep labor 
free and to keep production uninterrupted. He inquired who 
could believe "that any reforms planned in the interest of the 
people can live in the presence of a Germany powerful enough to 
undermine or overthrow them by intrigue or force. 5 He made 
occasion to cast another hook into the labor interest as he referred 
to mobs that at Bisbee and elsewhere took law into their own hands. 
He entered a protest 'against any manifestation of the spirit 
of lawlessness anywhere or in any cause, 5 and hurried back to 
Washington leaving the American Federation to re-elect Gompers, 
to resolve against strikes on Government jobs, and to continue the 
part it was playing on the American single front. 

Distrust of the adequacy of the basis of peace proposed by the 
Vatican, and distrust of the honesty of the enemy when talking 
peace, were enough to justify the rejection of a negotiation then 
and there. But distrust provided no positive material out of which 
to build the skeleton of a peace. The time was sure to come when 
such a skeleton would be required. The world had moved since 
the end of the preceding January when von Bernstorff had handed 
to House his confidential memorandum stating the terms Germany 
would have demanded had its request for a conference, made in 
December, 1916, been received with favor. 

The Vatican terms of condonation, with the evacuation of 
Belgium and the release of the occupied departments of northern 
France, would have been unacceptable to the Empire in January, 
1917, for Germany was then thinking of a peace with victory. 
The Bernstorff memorandum mentioned special guaranties and 
compensations before Germany would consider giving up Belgium 


or returning French territory; it asked for a 'safe 3 frontier, behind 
which Germany and Poland might be 'economically and strategi- 
cally' protected against Russia. It demanded colonies, not only 
the return of those occupied by the Allies, but colonies enough to 
be 'adequate to her population and economic interest'; and it 
wanted also for German business and German subjects compensa- 
tion for their suffering during the war. Far from revealing the 
conviction of sin and the repentance that Allied thought de- 
manded as a condition precedent to negotiation, the German 
memorandum was written in a feeling of just deserts and military 
success. The gap between the German program and peace without 
victory was too wide to be bridged by any negotiation. It became 
wider with the collapse of Russia, the German victories of 1917 
along the Eastern Front, and the failure of Allied effort to break 
the Western lines. 

Yet rumor had it that Austria-Hungary was tired enough to 
quit. When Congress met after the autumn recess for the winter 
session of 1917-18, it gave to the principal ally of Germany addi- 
tional reason for quitting by declaring war against the 'Imperial 
and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government/ Wilson had advised 
against a declaration aimed at Austria-Hungary in April. But 
now, in his annual address, he asked that such a declaration be 
adopted. He was not ready to take the same logical action against 
the other allies of Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria; they were 'also 
the tools of Germany,' he said, but they were 'mere tools' and not 
'in the direct path of our necessary action. 3 It was embarrassing to 
be at war with Germany and at peace with Austria-Hungary, for 
both were fighting along the fronts where some day the A.E.F. 
would begin to operate. The embarrassment had increased within 
the weeks immediately previous to the message, as Germany had 
injected its own divisions among the tired Austrian units, and with 
new leadership had made possible a drive down the passes of the 
Alps, around the head of the Adriatic, and almost up to the lines of 
Venice. Logic and fact forbade further treatment of the Dual 
Monarchy as a friend. 

The Government of Austria-Hungary, Wilson conceded, 'is not 


acting upon its own Initiative or In response to the wishes and 
feelings of Its own peoples 5 ; but since it had become simply the 
'vassal of the German Government' we must 'face the facts as they 
are and act upon them without sentiment/ Congress responded 
Immediately with a declaration of war that the President signed 
December 7,1917. 

It had been eight months since Wilson last spoke to Congress, 
face to face. After his address of April 2 he did not again visit It in 
person until In December he summed up the progress of the sum- 
mer and began to be more specific upon the requirements of a 
peace than had been appropriate at earlier dates. 

When in 1916 he gave his adherence to the doctrine upon which 
the League to Enforce Peace had been founded a year earlier, he 
endorsed the fundamental idea of his foreign policy of the war, for 
in his mind the only alternative to self-help and the continuance of 
war was some sort of league with power to do justice. He took a 
league for granted now as he had taken It for granted In the Janu- 
ary address. His chroniclers, too, took it for granted. Working on 
The Foreign Policy ofWoodrow Wilson, 1913-1917 (1917)9 which they 
had ready for the public at the end of the year, Edgar E. Robinson 
and Victor J. West found that his papers revealed an articulated 
structure on the foundations of neutral doctrine and super-league. 
When the New York Times reviewed the book, January 6, 1918, it 
noted the harmony of the doctrine with the American past, the 
completeness of It, and the skill with which Wilson the teacher had 
built up the following of Wilson the politician. Wilson was now 
taking the difficult step from broad generalization to specific 
formula. He was catching the voices of humanity that are in the 
air/ as they became articulate in insisting that the peace should 
not be based on annexations, contributions, or vindictive In- 
demnities. The present task was to c win the war,' but It would not 
be won until the German people "through properly accredited 
representatives* should right the wrongs 'their rulers have done/ 

The President agreed with the Pope that in a fair peace the 
peoples and land of Belgium and northern France must be de- 
livered from conquest and menace. The peoples of Austria-Hun- 

1 74 WAR AIMS 

gary, too, and those of the Balkans and Turkey must be delivered 
Trom the impudent and alien domination of the Prussian military 
and commerical autocracy. 5 But he repelled, as 'grossly and 
wantonly false/ the idea that the existence of Germany was at 
stake. The worst that could happen to it, in spite of what its leaders 
said to scare its people, was a temporary exclusion from the part- 
nership of nations and from the free intercourse that would grow 
from that partnership if the German people 'should still, after the 
war is over, continue to be obliged to live under ambitious and 
intriguing masters/ Here was a clear invitation to the German 
people to overthrow the Government of the Empire for the sake of 
peace. This was the object of the wedge. 

The same forces that brought Wilson from the generalities of 
international philosophy down to practical conditions to be at- 
tained were playing upon all the statesmen of the war in the 
autumn of 1917. In England, only a week before Congress met, 
Lord Lansdowne had said his say. In a letter that the London 
Daily Telegraph printed on November 29, after the Times had 
declined it space, this veteran statesman, who had retired from 
the Government only with Asquith in 1916, risked his repute to 
counsel his people to a negotiated peace. He was afraid that in 
crushing Germany with the thoroughness promised by Lloyd 
George, the Allies would crush the world. He was willing to do 
one thing that Wilson did not make specific in the message: to 
consider the matters involved in the freedom of the seas. 

The Lansdowne letter was a straw in a gusty wind that might 
develop disruptive power. Within a few days the British ministers 
were trying to harness the wind and to undo the damage done to 
solidarity by a responsible elder statesman talking peace. Clemen- 
ceau, who had no illusions, blurted out: "My war aim is to conquer. 5 
But across the Channel the leaders were explaining to their audi- 
ences that the British aim was still no more imperialistic than it had 
been in 1914, and that there could not be peace until after victory. 
At Birmingham, Asquith, whose Government had made the 
decision for war, defended the decision, defended its necessity, 
thought much of the criticism of Lansdowne unfair, but deplored 


the letter. Bonar Law condemned its author Immediately at a 
Unionist meeting. Lloyd George embedded Ms comment in a 
speech at a dinner of the Gray's Inn Benchers, called a negotiated 
peace a farce, saw great danger in the Russian truce, and asked 
how confidence could be put in new treaties until those were 
vindicated whose violation caused the war. 

Within a few days, too, the Bolshevik Government was in con- 
versation with the Germans at Brest-Litovsk, railway center In 
Russian Poland which Germany had occupied in 1915. Here they 
were learning by experience how much of a peace without annexa- 
tions or contributions could be obtained. From temporary cessa- 
tion of fighting on parts of the Eastern Front, to truce, and from 
truce to general armistice on December 15, they progressed after 
they decided on a peace. On December 22 their plenipotentiaries, 
at a 'solemn sitting, 5 met the Germans to work it out. They found 
the Central Powers somewhat divided In their counsels; von 
Kuehlmann, civil head of the German mission, playing to the 
moderates, while General von Hoffmann talked the stern language 
of conquest; but they were not enough divided for the net result 
In German terms to be recognizable as a compliance with the 
Bolshevik proposals. One of the Administration Senators a little 
later played upon the fame of Luther Burbank as an 'assistant 
secretary to nature 5 : the Germans at Brest-Litovsk, he said, had 
put him In the shade, for they were able *to make a large crop of 
lemons grow on an olive branch.' A doctrine of Voluntary separa- 
tions' was devised by the Austro-German negotiators to save them 
from some of the odium of the dismemberment of Russia which 
they encompassed. 

Poland, overrun in 1915, had already been declared autono- 
mous by Germany in 1916. Finland, just east of whose border 
ran the Murmansk railway which Germany coveted, had defied 
Petrograd In July, 1917, and declared its independence. Lithuania 
and the Ukraine, breaking from Russia, were prepared to make 
separate treaties (which meant, substantially, annexation) with 
Germany. Having proclaimed the self-determination of peoples, 
Russia was caught in Its own net. And as to the temper of the peace 

1 76 WAR AIMS 

that the German envoys announced on Christmas Day, It was not 
misrepresented by the words put into the mouth of William II by 
an Amsterdam dispatch to the London Times: 'The year 1917, 
with its great battles, has proved that the German people has in 
the Lord of Creation above an unconditional and avowed ally, on 
whom it can unconditionally rely.' Leon Trotsky may have said 
(he was so reported) that the 'German and Austrian Governments 
have agreed to place themselves in the dock'; but if they had, it 
was not a dock of Russian making. 

The battle of opinions is in full swing,' wrote one of the corre- 
spondents from London as the Russian conversations opened. 
The battle had the effect of cutting through party lines with no one 
could tell how much injury to solidarity. Wilson had this in mind 
when he summarized the aims of the United States to Congress on 
December 4; House, sitting in Paris with the Allied Conference, 
tried in vain to procure from the conferees an authoritative state- 
ment of aims to close the breach, but he could get nothing that the 
United States could be expected to endorse. He was back in Wash- 
ington by December 15, and was at once in conference, persuading 
the President that only he could command attention or state the 
case. The Inquiry, still in its swaddling clothes, was called upon to 
aid in 'remaking the map of the world, as we would have it'; and 
in a fortnight, helped by the measured data the Inquiry had as- 
sembled, the President completed the task. 

While all this was progressing in secrecy a secrecy so secret 
that the Washington correspondents were writing home that 
Wilson's utterances of August 27 and December 4 were so compre- 
hensive as to make additional American statements unnecessary 
more voices were raised in the 'battle of opinions.* British labor 
spoke, indicating two things: that it was prepared to fight off war 
weariness if satisfied as to the aims of the war, and that its ideas 
concerning war aims were so close to those of President Wilson as 
to be almost indistinguishable from them. 

Arthur Henderson, a Newcastle molder in his early years, bore 
to British labor somewhat the relationship that Gompers bore to 
labor in the United States. Henderson was, however, a labor 


politician rather than an abstainer from politics, and after the 
arrival of the Labor Party In Commons he was consistently a 
leader. Not as much of a pacifist as Ramsay MacDonald, he suc- 
ceeded the latter as the head of the party in 1914 and in 1915 
Asquith took him Into the Ministry. He looked after labor and Its 
co-operation In the war, surviving the shake-up of 1916 to become 
one of the little War Cabinet under Lloyd George. His duties 
took him to Russia after the March Revolution. Here he was Im- 
pressed by the mutual misunderstandings of new Russia and the 
Allies and grew to the conviction that the Allies ought to co- 
operate In the Stockholm Conference of Socialists rather than per- 
mit It to fall Into German hands. He told this to his British labor 
associates so effectively at a conference August 10, that he was out 
of the Cabinet August 1 1 . British opinion was not ready to let 
British subjects talk with Germans. Out of office, he and the labor 
group re-aligned their ideas in the light of the various peace sug- 
gestions. They began at once the drafting of a labor manifesto, 
continuing Its revision as new proposals came to light and as 
American leadership began to assert Itself. 

The resolutions of the American Alliance of Labor and Demo- 
cracy, based on the doctrine of the reply to the Pope, blazed the 
way. The address of the President at Buffalo carried it farther. 
The message to Congress continued its development, until the 
British labor leaders were ready to submit to a national labor con- 
ference called by the parliamentary committee of the trade-union 
conference the reasons why they should stand by the war rather 
than accept the Russian leadership, heading Into a peace at Brest- 
Litovsk. Lloyd George regarded the conference as so important 
as to require a letter emphasizing his position that victory must 
precede peace, and that the precise terms of a peace must be based 
upon concurrence among the Allies. 'The Labour Party have 
from the beginning kept the country to the best of its war alms,' 
said the London Nation a week later. The war aims manifesto 
adopted in Central Hall, Westminster, on December 28, showed 
Henderson In Its drafting and Wilson In its paternity. 

The British Prime Minister, as sensitive to currents of opinion 

1 78 WAR AIMS 

among his constituents as any politician could be, sensed the aims 
of labor and dared not disregard them if he would. Having put 
Henderson out of the War Cabinet in August, he now danced to 
the tune of labor, with Henderson as leader. He seized the occa- 
sion created by a man-power conference with labor on January 5 
to harmonize his aims as Prime Minister with those expressed in 
the Labor Manifesto. It was as obvious to Lloyd George as to 
Woodrow Wilson that there could not be victory unless the aims of 
the war could be translated into terms acceptable to the great 
masses of working people who did most of the suffering, most of the 
dying, and most of the voting in democratic countries. Balfour, 
too, and Wilson were alike in understanding this and in appreciat- 
ing the need for team-work in such statements as might be made. 
They differed chiefly in that Balfour hoped Wilson would stick to 
'the lines of the President's previous speeches/ while Wilson hoped 
that no British utterance would 'sound a different note or suggest 
claims inconsistent with what he proclaims the objects of the 
United States to be. 3 Without detailed knowledge of each other's 
doings, Lloyd George said to labor very much what, on the same 
day, Wilson was preparing to say as he digested the advice of House 
and the memoranda of the Inquiry. This was a Saturday. On 
Sunday the President completed his draft. On Monday he 
showed it to Lansing for Verbal corrections. 5 And on Tuesday 
morning he took it to Congress c at an hour's notice. 5 

The testimony assembled by Professor Seymour out of House's 
diary indicates a more serious than usual preparation of the ad- 
dress, but does not suggest foreknowledge or indeed fore-hunch 
that the document in hand was to shake the world. To declare 
the general aims of democracy in the war had been a simpler and a 
safer matter than it was now to set up heads of business for the 
readjustment of the balance of nations and the correction of the 
map. But if Wilson regarded this address as of much greater 
significance than that of his previous speeches, the evidence does 
not as yet display it. 

The President reminded Congress as the excuse for his unex- 
pe"cted visit that the Central Powers at Brest-Litovsk had pro- 


fessed an interest in a general peace while announcing the terms 
upon which they were ready to enter into negotiation with Russia. 
But the conditions whose acceptance by Russia was demanded 
were not those which Russia had proclaimed in the spring, or even 
those voted by the Reichstag liberals in the summer. Not the 
proposals of a people craving peace, they were the impositions of a 
Government after victory. They raised for Wilson the question: 
With whom is Russia treating and for whom are the emissaries of 
the Central Powers speaking? He asserted it as his opinion that 
the answer was 'the military and imperialistic minority* which had 
thus far dominated German policy. He was unwilling to consider 
peace with this party, but he saw no reason why the challenge to 
state aims should not be responded to in complete candor. He was 
not averse to the sound 'instinctive judgment 5 behind the Russian 
doctrine. In December he had declared that Germany was using 
this to lead Russia astray, and had asserted that 'the fact that a 
wrong use has been made of a just idea is no reason why a right 
use should not be made of it.' He now alluded to the need of the 
Russian people to know truly what the Allies were about; to the 
admirable candor and spirit of Lloyd George three days before; 
and to the entry of the United States 'because violations of right 
had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of 
our own people impossible* unless they were corrected and the 
world secured. In order that c the world be made fit and safe to 
live in 3 he proposed as the only possible program 5 of its peace: 

1. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at. ... 

2. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas alike in 
peace and war except -as- the -seas -may be closed in whole and 
in part by "international action for the enforcement of inter- 
national covenants. 

3. The removal, -so-far-as possible, of aM economic barriers and 
the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among ait 
tfee" nations consenting- to the -peace and, associating them- 
selves fi>r its maintenance, 

4. Adequate guarantees ... that national armaments wili be 
reduced. . . . 

5. A free, open-minded and absolutely impartial adjustment of 
all colonial claims 

1 80 WAR AIMS 

6. The evacuation of all Russian territory and . . rmr = -unham- 
pered'-and .unembarrassed- opportune tyfer the independent 
determination of her own political development -and na- 

7. Belgium, tbe-whole-woridwill^a^ree, must be evacuated and 
restored wkhout-any attempt to limit the sovereignty which 
she enjoys. . . . 

8. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions 
restored and the wrong done in France by Prussia in 1871 
in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine . . . should be righted. . . . 

9. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along 
clearly recognizable lines of nationality. 

10. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, -whose- place among the 
nations we- wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be 
accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development. 

11. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; 
occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure 
access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan 
states to one another determined by friendly counsel along 
historically established lines of allegiance and nationality ____ 

12. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should 
be assured a secure sovereignty [with autonomous oppor- 
tunity for the rest] . .r^ndJbe^Dai^nell^ be per- 
manently -opened- -as- a-fcee.^ .passage to the ships and com- 
merce-of all nations ---- 

13. An independent - Polish state should be erected ... which 
should be assured a free and secure access to the sea. . . . 

14. A general association of nations must be formed under spe- 
cific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guaran- 
tees of political independence and territorial integrity to 
the great and small states, alike. 

The address of January 8 was hardly on the wires (over which 
the Committee on Public Information promptly dispatched it, 
securely translated, to foreign lands) before reactions lifted it to 
first place among the rationalizations of the war. The London 
Spectator saw in it at once c the minimum terms of the Allies, 3 but 
used the word Minimum 5 ; while a part of British opinion was 
restive at the inclusion of the item on the freedom of the seas. 
Colonel House liked all the rest of it better than the paragraph on 
the Balkan problem, for, as Seymour put it, 'historically established 


lines of allegiance and nationality' did not exist In the Balkans. 
Republican Senators were uneasy because of implications under 
the third head that might suggest free trade. But the voices of 
statesmen and of the press were in a close harmony. Scott Xearing, 
of the People's Council, approved it. And when a British paper 
called it a 'great charter,* the San Francisco Chronicle (which none 
could accuse of anything but unrepentant Republicanism) 
countered: "Why not the greater or the greatest charter? Magna 
Charta [sic] was a small-town franchise compared with the pro- 
clamation of international liberty and democracy contained in the 
Presidential deliverance. 3 Whether the President so designed it 
or not, his summary contained the texts for the diplomatic discus- 
sions of a generation. Viereck, w r ho dealt in superlatives, desig- 
nated it as 'The most effective piece of propaganda ever designed 
by any human brain in the history of mankind.' It was read in 
Germany, as it was intended to be read, as a basis for settlement 
only after Allied victory. Three days after it was delivered, the 
Norddeutsche Allgemeine %eitung was quoted as summing it up as c a 
real symphony of a will to no peace/ It gave to the content of the 
address the title thereafter universally ascribed to it: 'The Four- 
teen Points.' 


JL HE Fourteen Points, by popular acclaim, became the mani- 
festo of the war. In fundamental doctrine they summed up Ameri- 
can aspiration so completely that militarist and pacifist alike took 
them to be obvious. They detoured around the tangle of secret 
agreements, of which no one could have been ignorant in the 
summer or oblivious after the Bolshevik Government began to 
publish them in November, 1917, to smear its Czarist predecessors. 
Labor and liberal groups found in the Fourteen Points something 
more attractive to fight for than either national advantage or war 
indemnities. The manifesto failed in its purpose so far as Russia 
was concerned because the leaders there had world revolution in 
view rather than reasonable peace. Wilson's concrete suggestions 
as to territorial rearrangement were not in every case workable. 
They developed defects in fact defects to be embarrassing some 
day in conference but at their erroneous worst, the Fourteen 
Points did not threaten destruction or mutilation to defensible 
objectives of even the enemy. 

The last of the fourteen, promising an association of nations, 
promised by inference an orderly mechanism for the cure of prov- 
able evils. France found in the eighth what it had been eagerly 
looking for: a clear endorsement of the claim for the return to 
French sovereignty of Alsace-Lorraine. The wave of approval 
overflowed Allied boundaries in concentric bands. The doctrine 
of the freedom of the seas made it easier for neutrals to commend 
the manifesto. The approval passed even the barriers of the 
Central Powers. As well as among the Allies, there was war weari- 
ness east of the Western Front, where will to war was kept alive by 
attributing to the Allies a determination to dissolve Austria- 


Hungary and to wipe out Germany as an entity* As the reason- 
ableness of the Fourteen Points percolated the censorships and the 
interpretations of Imperial officials, the common folk of the Central 
Powers turned their minds toward this sort of peace. Wilson had 
set a text. 

The leaders of the Allies, one by one, gave personal approval to 
the Wilson doctrine, for its general purpose could not be rejected 
by one who was unwilling to proclaim himself to be imperialist at 
heart. Nevertheless, in spite of widening support and wordy ad- 
miration it remained the manifesto of only Wilson. It was less than 
Revolutionary Russia w r anted, than the American pacifists called 
for in the summer, than the Central Powers invited at Brest- 
Litovsk, than British labor asked from its haH at Westminster. It 
was not a pledge. The approvals w r ere no more than personal. 
They could not be national, for the Allies were bound to unity by 
bond. No statement of endorsement was made under that bond. 

The Pact of London, by wiiicfa the first enemies of Germany 
became the Allies, involved a pledge by each of them not to talk 
peace separately. Until the Allies should act in agreement, no 
statement of the opinion of anyone could bind even the country 
from which the statement came. Only the President of the United 
States was a free agent, able to speak with reasonable assurance 
that what he said was in fact the intention of his Government. 
Not until the Allies and Associated Powers at last permitted their 
general in command to receive the German envoys asking peace 
(and this was when the war was over and Germany had no option 
but to ask it) was a binding statement given out. Until this 
moment all expressions of opinion except those of Woodrow Wil- 
son fell short of being binding or dependable. Lloyd George is 
right in insisting that the Fourteen Points 'constituted no part of 
the official policies of the Alliance. 3 Co-operation in the expression 
of war intent, or, better, victory intent, could not be procured. 

The war was a group of wars on the part of the Allies, with 
freedom of action limited only by the pledge not to talk peace 
separately. Said Clemenceau, not many days after the statement 
of the Fourteen Points: 'Since I have fought in coalitions myself, 


I have come to think less of Napoleon' Depuis qui je pratique les 
coalitions f admire moins Bonaparte. But his recognition that his 
coalition was weak did not impel him to admit a sacrifice to make 
it stronger. It was eventually to be vital that the Allies shape their 
minds to an agreed pattern and adhere to it, else there could never 
be a peace. But before peace could become more than a philo- 
sophic abstraction it was even more vital that the Allies make up 
their minds to fight a single war. The position of Germany in its 
alliance gave to the Central Powers what approached a unified 
command., contributing to the military advantage gained in 1914 
and retained since then. The four great Allies had made their 
drives and defended their trenches, each on its own, and some- 
times with as much desire to conceal intent from friends as to hide 
it from the enemy. Their separateness now broke down, threaten- 
ing them with defeat. The United States, outside the Allies and 
outside the net of interest, pressed into their counsels the con- 
viction that unless they united they could not win. Germany, by a 
master stroke delivered in the late fall of 1917, served notice that 
unless they unite they must be beaten. 

The German blow came out of the Julian Alps on that north- 
eastern frontier of Italy where the ninth of the Fourteen Points 
was to declare that there should be rectifications c along clearly 
recognizable lines of nationality.' Italy was determined that this 
rectification should bring into the kingdom the region east of the 
head of the Adriatic known as the Trentino, from Trieste to Fiume, 
where indeed the 'lines of nationality' appeared to be chiefly Ger- 
man, but where possession of the littoral would give to Italy a con- 
trol of great strategic value. The Italian armies had been nibbling 
their way at the eastern end of the Venetian plain until blocked 
by mountainous country where the Austrian defenses could main- 
tain their line. Cadorna, in charge, had been pressing the Allies 
for troops and guns to advance his campaign and had been so in- 
adequately supplied as to be unable to do his part when the needs 
of the Western Front called for him to create diversions on the 
Italian Front. He started on a new drive eastward immediately 
after the appeal of Benedict XV. His drive slowed down among 


the mountains In September, with his armies spread over the upper 
tributaries of the Isonzo and In possession of the bridgehead at 
Gorizia. He was, with reason, worried about the morale of Ms 
troops, some of whom were too young and some too tired. There 
were no quick returns to reward Italy for joining the Allies. 

Germany, fearful that the Austrian lines would break, was suffi- 
ciently fearful to send picked divisions and to lend German com- 
manders for a counter-movement. In a campaign at Riga earlier 
In the year von Hutier had experimented successfully with a new 
process of attack calling for specialized troops and precise rehears- 
als. Preparations were made to apply this method on a larger 
scale on the Austrian Front. On October 24 the bombardment, 
overture to the battle of Caporetto, began in a heavy storm. The 
ensuing attack was successful beyond expectation; so successful as 
to clog Its own mechanism. If, as Pershing feared, the Allies had 
been driven by trench warfare to forget how to maneuver In the 
open, Germany remembered how. For the next two weeks every 7 
day brought news of the disintegration of Italian defense. Udine, 
the Italian headquarters, was taken at once; the Austro-German 
drive crossed the Isonzo, crossed the Tagliamento, and threatened 
the line of the Piave, until the defenders of Venice hid the bronze 
horses of St. Mark's, carried the other treasures of art into safe- 
keeping, and prepared to abandon Venice itself. 

As the Italian armies broke, rumors spread that prior to the 
drive propaganda had done a major stroke among the troops, 
appealing to the men in the ranks with an assurance that the 
Central Powers would give an easy peace, and that Italy was being 
used only for the special interests of the Northern Allies. Coin- 
cident with the disaster, making defense more difficult, was the 
fall of the Italian Ministry October 25, and the entry upon the 
scene of a new Prime Minister, Vlttorio Emanuele Orlando. 
Orlando brought with him some reputation for defeatism, and 
was believed, as Minister of the Interior in the fallen Cabinet, to 
have tolerated the Socialist propaganda that weakened army 
morale. A few days later Cadoma was removed from his com- 
mand and Diaz took over and began the reorganization of the 
Italian Front. 


The advance of the enemy around the head of the Adriatic was 
retarded, and stopped short of success. From Italy to England and 
France there went cries for help, with the result that divisions and 
guns were hurried into the new line. Early in November the 
Prime Ministers of the Allies followed their reinforcements in 
order to hold counsel with Italy at Rapallo, a resort on the Italian 
Riviera a little east of Genoa. Here on November 5 the new Prime 
Minister, Orlando, received Lloyd George whose tenure was now 
eleven months old, and Paul Painleve who had for two months 
presided over the fifth French Ministry since 1914 (and who was 
due to return to Paris and give way to Clemenceau at the head of 
the sixth). While the ministers were in conference on the dire 
necessities of the Italian Front, the news came of the triumph of the 
Bolsheviki, with the accompanying suggestion of a separate peace 
by Russia. At Rapallo the question uppermost was whether or not 
the war was lost. 

The near-success of the attack on Italy and the prospect that 
the Russian lines would soften, if they did not evaporate, con- 
tributed to make the military picture at the end of 1917 more 
favorable to Germany than it had been a year earlier when a peace 
conference had been asked for. For the fourth year Germany had 
made gains away from the Western Front to compensate for the 
failure to conquer there. In the autumn of 1914 Russia had been 
mired in East Prussia, with crushing losses. In 1915 Serbia was 
overrun and put out of the war. Rumania entered by the side of 
the Allies in 1916, only to be eliminated in the autumn and dis- 
membered by a peace at Bucharest. And now Italy had narrowly 
escaped the same elimination process. While Germany made 
gains elsewhere than in the West, the Allies, holding in the West, 
experienced losses in the East. Here the school of Allied strategy 
that thought to win the war by turning the left of the Central 
Powers at Constantinople made an attempt at Gallipoli in 1915, 
from which the unsuccessful forces were withdrawn at the end of 
the year. The Dardanelles remained closed to the Allies, which 
opened to Germany a vision of new gains across the Dardanelles, 
in Asia Minor and beyond. British operations in Mesopotamia in 


1915 were not only unsuccessful but resulted In the surrender 
at Kut-el-Amara of a British army In April, 1915. The 'Berlin to 
Baghdad* aspiration was too near to realization to be nonsense. 

The year 1917 saw German consolidations along the whole 
length of the Eastern Fronts except at the southern end. In 
Mesopotamia, after the surrender of Townshend at Kut 3 the British 
armies were reorganized and once more taken Into the field against 
the Turk. Baghdad was occupied by Maude In March, 19 17, 
setting a southeastern limit to German hopes. Arabia revolted 
against Turkey, held on to Mecca, and created a resource for the 
Allies. In Palestine, too, there were gains which somewhat soft- 
ened Allied disappointment. Allenby's entry Into Jerusalem, 
December n, 1917, was the brightest spot In the military vision 
of the enemies of the Central Powers as winter set in. 

The probability of additional German expansion southeast of 
Asia Minor was slight with Jerusalem and Baghdad taken by the 
Allies, and with the intervening Arabia In successful revolt. But 
from the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus north to Finland, the 
gains were great. The collapse of Russia opened vistas that had 
not been In prospect until after the deposition of the Czar. Even 
more than in 1916, If the gains In hand could be consolidated, 
Germany was in a position to let the West go and yet end the war 
with profit. 

But it was by no means certain, as autumn turned into winter in 
1917, that the Central Powers would have to let the West go. The 
victories in Italy were an Inspiration, giving hope that, with the 
Eastern rear safe, the war might be turned Into victory In the West 
in 1918. 

The year 1917 was Inconclusive as far as the Western Front was 
concerned. The trenches had held. Retaining the strategic grip at 
Verdun in the spring of 1916, the Allies had been unable to break 
through the line in the Somme campaign In the summer. The 
great French offensive of Nivelle collapsed in the spring of 1917, 
leaving the French forces in the confusion Pershing sensed when 
he reached Paris In June. At the French left and never happy 
with his liaison, Halg was prepared to co-operate with Nivelle, 


driving up the valley of the Somme; but the plans of both armies 
were upset when Ludendorff, anticipating them, made a strategic 
withdrawal from the front trenches to a new Hindenburg Line, 
devastating the terrain as he evacuated it. The British offensives 
of the last half of the year, whether in Flanders or at Cambrai, left 
the German defenses still intact. The prospect of the Allies for 
1918 would have been dark enough without the emergency call 
from Italy in November. Pershing, just as the Italian line was 
struck at Caporetto, found it necessary to issue a stern warning to 
his officers lest they spread to visitors c an impression that the war is 
already well along toward defeat for our arms. 3 He had visitors in 
shoals there were newspaper men, whom Palmer could handle, 
major-generals from the new divisions sent to observe the war, and 
congressmen whose discretion broke down when they picked up 
the interesting gossip at officers' messes. When the premiers 
gathered with their military advisers at Rapallo, it was clear that 
heroic measures were in order. Unity was involved. 

Pershing did not go to Rapallo. Just back from an Inspection of 
ports and services along his line of communications, he had break- 
fast with Lloyd George as the latter paused in Paris on his way to 
Italy and in the afternoon he called on Painleve. With each he 
discussed the steering committee that was proposed to be erected 
to bring better order out of the Allied chaos. 

There were three or four ways of securing team-work. Pershing 
thought rather well of honest conference and co-operation among 
generals of the several countries in the field; however, this called 
for a higher degree of self-denial than was usual among com- 
manders with careers at stake. There were also possibilities of a 
council of war in the field (which commanders dislike); of a single 
commander (which France would have welcomed if assured that 
he should be French and which Pershing welcomed in principle) ; 
and of a steering committee in the rear, with some of the attributes 
of a consolidated general staff. 

The last device was the best that it was practical politics to dis- 
cuss, since English military opinion would not consider the sub- 
ordination of the British Army to a French commander. Reason 


underlay this reluctance, for In Flanders lay the gateway to Eng- 
land, and none could be sure that In a moment of stress the road to 
Paris might not be regarded by a French commander as more 
Important than the road to England. It might. In fact, be more 
Important. German military skill had jolted British opinion Into 
some compliance, but not enough for a complete surrender of 
control. The steering committee Idea, a favorite of Lloyd George, 
was In weaker shape than Pershlng liked, because the logical 
national representatives on such a committee would have been 
the chiefs of the several general staffs; whereas the British Prime 
Minister had a deep distrust of generals (even of his own) and In- 
sisted that the determination of policy should be, in the last 
analysis, political. 

Lloyd George suggested to Pershlng that he, too, ought to go to 
the Italian conference; but Pershing, having no specific instruc- 
tion, suspecting the conference to be more political than military, 
and having no army ready for immediate use, preferred to stay 
away. He did not conceal, however, his desire for real co-opera- 
tion between the English and the French, for 'when one was 
attacking the other w r as usually standing still. 5 

The Paris conversations were on Sunday, November 4. On 
Monday the Prime Ministers and their advisers met at Rapallo. 
On Wednesday they signed an agreement for the better co-ordina- 
tion of military action on the Western Front,' in which they pro- 
mised to set up in Versailles a Supreme War Council, with 
monthly meetings. The Council was to consist of the Prime Minis- 
ter and a member of his Cabinet for each of the powers, with a 
permanent military representative of each to go to Versailles and 
act as technical adviser to the Council. The group of military 
advisers thus permanently installed was to receive reports and 
proposals, watch the day's battle, and consider the means at the 
disposal of the Allies. It was presumed that, upon their technical 
advice, the Supreme War Council would plan a common policy 
at its monthly meetings. The conduct of operations and the con- 
trol of each army was left, specifically, in the hands of its Govern- 
ment. The crisis of the Austro-German drive had passed before the 


Rapallo conference met, and the drive itself was shortly stopped 
with the Allied line in Italy mangled but not ruined. The business 
of the new Supreme War Council was with the future. 

A month later the Supreme War Council met in the Trianon 
Palace Hotel for the first of its periodic sessions at Versailles. In 
the weeks since Rapallo the venture had been exposed to opinion 
in the constituent countries. Hindenburg joked about it: 'Such 
institutions are always a sign of helplessness. When they are at 
their wits' end, a war council is established. 5 The difficulty of 
popularizing even this much co-operation had become apparent. 
Cadorna, sent to Versailles as the Italian military representative, 
came with the handicap that he had been relieved of his command. 
France detailed Weygand (an assistant of Foch), who was the 
selection of a new Prime Minister, Painleve being out. Clemen- 
ceau, now come to power, the bad boy of French politics, had at 
the age of seventy-six a single aim ahead of his driving power 
France. Lloyd George sent Henry Wilson without trusting him; 
he nearly sent no one because his own outspoken remarks upon the 
ineptness of command and the need for oneness almost upset his 
Government. He might have been a less insistent co-operator if 
his distaste for the generals had not impelled him toward whatever 
course they disapproved. But a Paris speech, on his return from 
Rapallo, was so brutally frank as to necessitate a full explanation 
to Commons on November 14. His explanation was convincing 
to his majority, and it was reinforced shortly by a statement from 
Colonel House, who had arrived in England November 7. House 
put into words the substance of an instruction from the President: 
c We not only approve a continuance of the plan for a war council 
but insist on it.' 

Clemenceau desired to modify the Supreme Council, when it 
met on December i, by bringing in the chiefs of staff, and he 
threatened if this could not be done to let the Council die in the 
hands of mediocrities. He acted, however, less destructively than 
he threatened and took part in the formal opening of the offices 
with their permanent military secretariat. House represented the 
President, having in his train Tasker H. Bliss who now wore the 


four stars indicating his rank as general. The rank had been 
revived In the autumn, so that Pershing, in command of the A.E.F., 
might hold his own with the leaders of the Allies, and so that the 
Chief of Staff might have at least a temporary 7 rank as high as that 
of any of the officers to whom he might have to transmit the orders 
of the Secretary of War. Although on the verge of retirement, 
Bliss was being retained as Chief of Staff until a suitable younger 
successor could be found. 

Bliss returned to the United States with reports for the War 
Department only to be sent back to Paris in time for the next meet- 
ing of the Council, to act as Permanent Military Representative. 
Pershing was not sure he wanted him, having preference for 
Hunter Liggett, and it took them some days to reach an under- 
standing. But there Is no note of criticism among the comments 
upon the service of BKss once he w r as Installed. He not only took 
an immovable position in support of Pershing, but also impressed 
his wisdom and fairness upon the military group regardless of 
nationality. Sometimes as a 'mountain/ sometimes as a 'benevo- 
lent pachyderm, 3 he earned the friendly judgment expressed by 
his biographer, Frederick Palmer, In Bliss,, Peacemaker: The Life 
and Letters of General Tasker H. Bliss (1934). 

Pershing was dubious about the Council when he joined the 
other commanders at its ceremonial opening; he thought it a 
'kind of super-parliament.' He was more interested at the moment 
in getting troops to France than in the politics of their utilization. 
The Prime Ministers had no difficulty In completing the mechan- 
ics of the continuous services of the Council, but they were as yet 
unprepared with any plan for the military operations of the cam- 
paign of 1918. It was nearly two months before they were again 
in session, still without a program. 

The third meeting of the Supreme War Council, at Versailles 
on January 30, 1918, found the Allied armies facing trouble, and 
the English Chief of Staff, Sir William Robertson, thinking that 
c our only hope lies in American reserves/ Robertson was within 
a few days of resignation because of distrust of the principle upon 
which the Council was constructed. His office was out of it. He 


was offered either post: that which he held or that of Military 
Representative; but he wanted both, which Lloyd George would 
not let him have. Pershing and the generals anticipated so little 
from the Council that Clemenceau was asked to assemble the field 
commanders a week before it met, at the headquarters of Petain at 
Compiegne. Here Petain foresaw a necessity to stick to the 
defensive. Foch wanted a counter-offensive to be ready to start 
when the enemy opened in the spring. Haig and Robertson 
wanted independent offensives to be prepared. And Pershing 
discussed the obstacles interfering with his construction of his rear 
and with the shipment of his troops. Except that American troops 
could not be counted on for any early operations (the English 
thought that as an 'autonomous unit' they would be useless 
throughout the year), the generals had not come to an agreement 
when the Council met. 

The Military Representatives made their report to the Council, 
which thereupon decided to establish an Allied military reserve, 
and created an Executive War Board to direct its operations. 
The reserve could not be more than a principle, since none of the 
commanders either admitted having enough troops for his own 
minimum needs, or released for duty in the reserve the divisions 
promised it. Adjournment came without a program. Nervous 
souls at home had to be reassured by Bonar Law in Commons 
that the Council had not created a generalissimo. The co-operation 
in counsel, inspired by nearness of defeat, went only thus far. It 
might never have gone farther had not the next German blow, 
falling in March, driven the Allies the rest of the way to unity and 

Inadequate as the Supreme War Council was, it promised in 
military affairs a completer team-work than had been attained 
in diplomacy. The commentaries on the Fourteen Points had 
multiplied between the day of their announcement and the end of 
January. But there was no assurance that if the military picture 
should change, the terms of peace would not change with it. The 
spokesmen for the Central Powers were disposed to treat the Four- 
teen Points as destructive of their nations. The Allied Govern- 


ments 3 and that of the United States, could not hear among the 
enemy voices anything that sounded like a note of acceptance. 
There was nothing for the war to do but to go on. 

Yet the enemies of Germany were growing tow r ard a unity. 
The Fourteen Points constituted a new outpost thrown in the 
general direction of the purpose of the war. The Supreme War 
Council, by the mere fact of Its existence, recorded the making of 
some concession from the principle of national separateness. 
Moreover, a series of conferences held in Paris in December 
brought the Allies and the United States Into a more businesslike 
relationship with reference to their joint support of the armies In 
the field. 

The United States had assumed the position of banker to the 
Allies; but as such It lacked full knowledge of the resources, 
liabilities., and projects of Its debtors. It had begun to earmark 
funds for their expenditure within a few hours after the signature 
of the loan act on April 24. However reluctant the Allies were to 
bind themselves to any joint purpose, beyond that of military 
victory, they were of one mind and conduct In the use of the 
resources between winch and themselves stood only the necessity 
to procure the signature of McAdoo upon their paper. By Novem- 
ber they had drawn 2717 millions against credits established to 
the amount of 3131 millions. McAdoo was guessing that they 
would need about 500 millions a month for the duration of the war. 
They would have welcomed an automatic allowance of this 
dimension, in place of the requirement to state the specific case 
every time a requisition was accepted. England was conscious of a 
status different from that of the Continental Allies, since it passed 
on to them, in loans of Its own, substantially as much as It bor- 
rowed in the United States. Out of the responsibility resting upon 
the Treasury in authorizing these acceptances came much of the 
American pressure for co-operation in the rear of the Armies. 

The Purchasing Commission for the Allies began to function In 
midsummer, lessening the losses due to indiscriminate competition 
among the several buyers in the American market. There was, at 
best, some doubt whether at the end of the year there would be 


anything left to buy, since war needs gobbled up the visible output 
and still clamored for more. The permanent British and French 
Missions (which were left behind in order to supplement the 
work of the Embassies) when the congratulatory Missions went 
home in the spring of 1917 had as detached a view of the pos- 
sible volume of American material as the United States Govern- 
ment possessed. They were willing to make some sacrifice for 
the sake of output and economy; and for their own purposes they 
soon saw virtue in the idea that co-operative boards in Europe 
should do for their combined requirements something of what 
was being attempted in the United States by the War Boards. 

In advancing this idea the Treasury took an enthusiastic part. 
It had reasons of strictly American character to make its support 
enthusiastic. Even had there not been American loans, the Allies 
must have continued to buy in the United States. International 
law had never even frowned upon the purchase of military sup- 
plies in neutral countries. Neutrality had never been construed to 
suggest that the neutral should prohibit profitable trade merely 
because the buyer was at war. What would have continued per- 
missible had the United States refrained from war became obvious 
with the United States itself a belligerent. The War Missions per- 
suaded themselves and confessed to the United States that the 
Allies had reached the bottom of their strong-boxes; but had the 
loans not been authorized they would have made additional effort 
to build up collateral in the United States against which to raise 
the credits for American purchases. The Allies would not have de- 
clared their bankruptcy and dropped the war. 

In proportion as funds were lent by the United States to the 
Allies the strain upon the treasuries of the latter was eased. Moneys 
and resources that might have had to go for American food and 
munitions became available at home for whatever purposes 
seemed advisable. There were many fields of opportunity beyond 
the cash resources of the Allies which could be exploited when 
bought on credit. Not all of their purposes were revealed to the 
creditor. Their conception of the 'justice' to be done at the peace 
treaty involved in most cases some readjustment of the map to their 


own advantage. In some cases they were rivals for the same terri- 
torial booty, and were ready to spend money, If they had It, to 
entrench themselves or to head off the competitor. The American 
Treasury could not avoid feeling, as the loans were poured out, 
that the United States was in spite of Itself assisting Its associates to 
fight each other. Such competitions were not part of the American 
objective in the war. 

When Jusserand or Spring Rice asked for loans It was both 
embarrassing and non-productive to Inquire too much. The 
Secretary of the Treasury was In no position to be Inquisitorial 
about the purpose of the expenditure, or about the work to be 
done at home by the funds which his loan released. A clearing 
house in Europe, In which representatives of the several Allies 
should check the requirements of each other and give them pri- 
ority according to their deserts, promised to relieve the embar- 
rassment. Charles H. Grasty, whose dispatches from Europe pro- 
vided the United States with much of what It thought it knew, 
was asking in August for an Inter- Ally council. He was suggesting 
that House, or Franklin K. Lane, be the American member. 
The Trading-with-the-Enemy Act, and the War Trade Board 
formed in pursuance of It, gave power to the American pressure. 
They carried implications entirely clear to the practical borrowers, 
who did not want to dam the flow of credit. 

On the night of October 28 Colonel House boarded In New 
York the special train carrying an American Mission to Halifax 
on its way to London. He traveled at the head of an Impressive 
delegation that in a way returned the visit of the War Missions of 
April. Each branch of the war effort was represented among his 
associates. Benson, Chief of Naval Operations, and Bliss, Chief of 
Staff, went with him. Oscar T. Crosby, who had been clearing 
the loans, was detailed by the Treasury and took along the best of 
legal advice in the person of Paul T. Cravath. Vance McCormick, 
chairman of the War Trade Board, was his own delegate; the War 
Industries Board sent Bainbridge Colby. Alonzo E. Taylor, a close 
associate of Hoover, could speak for the Food Administration. 
The American Mission arrived in London on the very day, Novem- 


ber 7, when the Allied premiers sat at Rapallo In the Supreme 
War Council set up as a last sacrifice for the sake of victory. 
Northcliffe, who knew much, and whose papers dealt with him as 
knowing all, was being quoted to the effect that half the effort of 
the Allies was being lost through cross-purposes and waste. 

The steps leading to the decision for the Inter-Ally Conference 
for which the American Mission was heading had been taken in the 
interval since August. Its germ was in the financial conference 
asked by McAdoo. The Allies desired it, not only to secure 
orderly continuance of supplies, but also to bind the United States 
to themselves in the matter of policy. They were repeatedly in- 
viting American representatives abroad to sit in with their coun- 
cils, not so much because they craved American advice as because 
the United States having taken part in the discussions might feel 
bound by the decisions. The reply to the Pope indicated a tend- 
ency of the President to go his own way in stating policy; he might 
go too far. 

The negotiations between England and the United States at the 
time the American Mission was determined upon had their center 
in New York and Washington and ran through irregular channels. 
Roosevelt had thought well of Page, admiring him as he had 
admired 'no other Ambassador in London . . . with the exception 
of Charles Francis Adams.' However, Page had little to do with 
the negotiations. He had long since ceased to represent the Presi- 
dent, and he was blocked out of the picture before ill health ended 
his embassy and he came home to die. Lansing, technically the 
correct channel for diplomacy, had little to do with this angle of it. 
It was Colonel House who was the tool, and in House the affection- 
ate confidence of the President was unqualified through the 
autumn of 1917. Sometimes in the White House but oftener in 
his apartment in New York, House was no farther from Wilson 
than his arm could reach to their private telephone. Next him, in 
an apartment not far away, Sir William Wiseman had been 
planted by the British Government to receive and expedite de- 
cisions on matters of state. It was an unusual circuit, but one 
that was highly effective. As with Page, it lessened the importance 


of Spring Rice, who, crowded out of the business he ought to have 
conducted, died suddenly in 1918. The British War Mission In a 
large degree superseded the embassy. Northcliffe, and after him 
Reading, had the reality of authority if not the trappings; while 
Spring Rice was distressed by the tactics of the great newsman 
and chagrined by his own ousting. Unfitted for his post of am- 
bassador because of his personal identification with American 
groups unfriendly to the Administration, Spring Rice occupied 
himself with an honorary degree from Harvard. He wrote 
intimate letters to the Roosevelts, and for Henry Adams he made 
graceful sonnets. He was carefully expressing no opinion 'unless 
I am asked for it.* But he admitted ruefully, No one has asked me.' 

In the autumn of 191 7, NorthclifFe yielded his post as head of the 
British Mission to Lord Reading and took his penetrating know- 
ledge of the United States back to London, while Reading pressed 
upon the American Government the idea of participating in the 
next inter-Ally conference on the conduct of the war. Wiseman 
briefed the arguments for such participation, and Wilson assented 
to them about the time he directed House to launch the Inquiry. 
The lack of an effective army made it inappropriate for the 
United States as yet to do much about strategy; the President 
was unwilling to be let into what might be described as diplomatic 
alliance, yet the logic of economic co-ordination was convincing, 
and Balfour was right in believing that 'tonnage conditions will be 
the deciding factor 5 in the spring operations of 1918. In mid- 
October Wilson agreed to participate in the conference. He asked 
House to lead the American Mission, and on October 24 he gave 
him his letter of credentials. 

House had three weeks for deliberation and arrangement before 
the Inter-Ally Conference held its opening session in Paris, 
November 29, 1917. He had laid his foundations in London be- 
fore he crossed the Channel, and In advance of his coming he 
had passed the word ahead: c No public functions.* The days 
were spent in conference with those from the King down, who 
controlled the larger strategy. He had nearly a week before Lloyd 
George arrived back from Rapallo. In this week it was believed 


that Venice was sure to fall and that the whole war was at stake. 
House was more than ready to permit the Prime Minister to use 
him as reinforcement in the demand for a superior unity and to 
give to American pressure a somewhat greater credit than it de- 

While House was occupied at the top, the lesser members of the 
Mission found their way into the subordinate British offices similar 
to their own, to talk the business of the war. They found this 
business in confusion, with each of the problems interlocked with 
all the rest. Military plans were in abeyance because of ignorance 
of the extent of the American reinforcement. Numbers could not 
be stated with any precision, because of ignorance of the tonnage 
that would be available for transportation. Shipping matters 
remained in doubt, because neither the freight requirements of the 
next year nor the amount of new tonnage that could be expected 
from the efforts of the Emergency Fleet Corporation could be fore- 
told. But through the confusion ran a clear purpose that England 
and the United States should go to Paris arm in arm to advance the 
unity of all. The days in London were crowned by a sitting of the 
American Mission (without House, who stayed away) and the 
British War Cabinet in the very room at the Foreign Office in 
which, said Lloyd George, 'Lord North engineered some trouble 
for America, but a great deal more trouble for himself. 5 It was 
'purely a business gathering/ from which Lloyd George sent the 
Americans to Paris with 'man-power and shipping as the two first 
demands. 9 Nothing had occurred to change his view, expressed in 
April, that ships would win the war. 

The American Mission had a week in Paris before the first 
plenary session of the Inter-Ally Conference was held, clogged 
with the representatives of the little Allies. The clogging was 
unimportant, for the formal sessions were only decorative. Much 
of the real work had been accomplished in the week of waiting, so 
that what was left for the full gatherings was only the recording of 
decisions reached in private. Even the usual speeches were lacking. 
House engineered an agreement with Clemenceau and Lloyd 
George that the leaders should restrain themselves which was 


less of an effort for him than for them. They adhered to the ar- 
rangement, and left time for the committees to do their work. 

Out of the Inter- Ally Conference came projects for co-operation 
behind the lines. As to the lines themselves. House learned that a 
great controversy would shortly arise: whether the A.E.F. should 
be used as such or be broken up into companies and battalions to 
be directed by officers of the Allies. But with this left in abeyance, 
the plans for supporting the Allies in their efforts comprised a 
finance council, a shipping council, a naval council, a munitions 
council, a food council, and an understanding upon common 
policy in the maintenance of the so-called blockade. Blockade 
was still as inadequate a name for the investment of Germany as it 
had been before the United States entered the war; the maritime 
controls of trade continued to be based upon an inflation of the 
law of contraband rather than upon the rule of blockade. 

The leaders of the Conference adjourned their sessions to assist 
in the inauguration of the Supreme War Council at Versailles on 
December i. They completed their w r ork two days later, and a 
month after landing in England the American Mission was afloat 
on the Mount Vernon, bound for home. Said Colby to House: 'We 
have been so used to potentates and kings that the first thing we 
should do ... is to take a week's course at Child's Restaurant, sit- 
ting on a stool, and getting down again to our own level.' The 
stools at Child's, on Pennsylvania Avenue, could tell a long story 
had they tongues. 

The seeds planted at the Conference budded and fruited as the 
weeks ran on. First of all, the Inter-Ally Council on War Purchases 
and Finance retained Crosby in London to complete its organiza- 
tion, open its offices, and preside over its deliberations. It proved 
to be less important than its prospectus, for the Allies in this tight 
winter could not find things to buy upon which to use up the funds 
easily available. There was no shortage of American funds. The 
Second Liberty Loan had been a success, and there were no fears 
for the Third when it should be expedient. But Crosby's Council 
was ready for business December 15, 'the first permanent Inter- 
Ally body in which the United States is represented.! From his 


offices in St. James's Palace an American directed priorities in the 
matter of finance, and his Council met alternately there and at 
Paris in the Palace of the Legion of Honor. 

Naval co-operation had been a fact since the arrival of Sims, 
who did not gain rank of Admiral, equivalent to that of General, 
until the war was over. The presence of Benson with the House 
Mission made it possible to make the co-operation more specific 
and fruitful than it had been, but the Inter- Allied Naval Council 
did not add much to the unity of direction already in existence. 
To the destroyers already operating in European waters it was 
agreed to add a squadron of American battleships; and even before 
Benson had left Washington he had placed on the desk of the 
President, for immediate approval, a memorandum on a new 
variety of American effort. The submarines while still a menace 
were less of a menace than they had been because the system of 
convoys had drawn some of their teeth, while the barrage and 
patrol at the Strait of Dover had greatly lessened the availability 
of that exit from North Sea waters into the ocean. The ordnance 
men in the Navy had proposed that the northern end of the North 
Sea be blocked as well, and had undertaken studies of the two 
hundred and thirty miles of rough water lying between the Orkney 
Islands and the coast of Norway which, after the closure at Dover, 
the submarines must traverse. No surface patrol was able to close 
this highway, and attention shifted to the possibility of a tight 
barrage of anchored contact mines. After the war was over, the 
British Navy believed the conception of the North Sea mine bar- 
rage to have been its own, but it could not weaken the conviction 
of the American ordnance men that only their pressure had over- 
ridden British despair at the magnitude of the enterprise. At any 
event, a mine was designed in the Navy, a mine-firing device was 
improvised, arrangements were made for quantity manufacture in 
a hundred different plants of which none was aware of the nature 
of the job, and plans for lading the barrage were proposed to the 
Admiralty in July. With the approval of the Admiralty and the 
Navy a laying base was opened by the latter on the coast of Scot- 
land in February, 1918; and on June 8 the first field was laid. 


Lines of the mines made navigation of the exit from the North Sea 
hazardous at the surface, at periscope depth, at submergence 
depth, and at deep-sea depth; 70,263 mines in all, of which the 
American Navy anchored 565611 in their position. 

The Allied Maritime Transport Council was the response to 
the need for ocean tonnage. With four sections, one for each 
Government reporting directly to its Government, it did its first 
work in London on March 13. The basic decisions that were to 
provide for the needs of the United States were not yet made, but 
it was possible to set in motion the machinery for tabulating ton- 
nage and estimating the requirements of the principal commodi- 
ties of trade. The studies that Americans had begun in the plan- 
ning and statistics section of the United States Shipping Board 
were expanded upon the larger scale of total tonnage. The busi- 
ness of war was at a stage at which politicians could not do their 
work without the aid of statisticians who knew their stuff. The 
adding machine had become a significant item in the list of war 

The munitions Council and the Food Council were delayed in 
their inauguration, but became real when the summer of 1918 
brought about a new series of inter- Ally conferences upon the 
campaign projected for 1919. Before the economic councils were 
far advanced in their work, the interest of the war shifted from 
planning to operations in the field. But when these operations 
began, with the German attack of March 21, the German high 
command found itself facing a coalition that had considerably 
changed its tricks since the close of the last campaign. 

Organization of the effort abroad had caught up to and passed 
the organization of the effort at home. Before the United States 
could profit greatly from the improved unity toward which its 
argument had been directed, it was necessary to reach other 
decisions as vital to victory as those concerning war aims or inter- 
Ally war organizations. It had to be decided, by rough method of 
pull and push, who should command the American effort, the 
President or the Congress; and who should command the Ameri- 
can field forces, PersWng or the Allied generals. It had to be dis- 
covered whether the American war machine could be made to work. 


JL HAT unity of purpose and that co-ordination of effort, to whose 
promotion abroad the endeavors of the American Government 
were directed, were brought near to breaking at home. The dis- 
ruptive forces threatening the success of the domestic undertaking 
were generated variously. They were derived from political inter- 
est that could not be overlooked even during war, from the struc- 
ture of human character, and from the Constitution of the United 

The third of these disruptive forces was inherent in the Ameri- 
can frame of government. The plain meaning of the words of the 
Constitution, c he shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and 
Navy of the United States,' was hard to accept when things went 
wrong or failed to go right. Congress cannot sit quiet and permit 
the President to lose the day or save it. What interference its pa- 
triotic zeal does not inspire is inspired quite as easily by its self- 
esteem as a co-ordinate branch of the Government. To the Presi- 
dent belong the executive power and the responsibility, but upon 
the Senators and Representatives falls the double burden of voting 
resources and of explaining in detail to constituents why resources 
have been voted or withheld. Congressional leaders, reassembled 
in December, 1917, after a brief recess since October 6, could not 
ease out of their minds the attractive picture of a committee on 
the conduct of the war or its equivalent through which their hand 
might be in every pot. 

Human character has a hard time in war. The strain of respon- 
sibility upon ministers, as they exercise their powers, is matched 
by the strain of hope or suspicion upon the lesser breed of states- 


men. Into the ears of congressmen, during the recess of 1917, 
were poured fact, gossip, and insinuation concerning the status of 
the war. Lawmakers knew little of what was going on behind the 
screen of voluntary censorship. Their constituents had boys in 
camp; boys so fresh that they would not have known when things 
were going well and so unused to war that every inconvenience or 
shortage was soon reported from mouth to ear, growing as it went. 
Congressmen came back to Washington ready to believe that 
everyone was incompetent and doubting the capacity of the Presi- 
dent, and Baker, and Daniels, and the group of emergency chiefs, 
to bring order out of chaos. They were sure it was chaos, but 
lacked agreement as to the order they desired. Jealousy grew out 
of the constitutional structure; suspicion out of human necessity. 
The United States had had only eight months in which either to 
flounder or to succeed. Congressmen might have been less uneasy 
(or perhaps more) if they could have known that the driving 
Prime Minister of England was convinced that his country had 
floundered hopelessly for twenty-eight months before he came to 
office In December, 1916. In the middle of November, when the 
admitted insight and power of Lloyd George had been in charge 
of England for eleven months, Lord Northcliffe declined the Air 
Ministry, warning the Prime Minister of the 'obstruction and de- 
lay* of London, in contrast with the 'virile atmosphere of the 
United States and Canada 5 ; he stayed out of the Cabinet that he 
might not be 'gagged 3 by loyalty, and warned that c unless there Is 
swift improvement in our methods here, the United States will 
rightly take into Its own hands the entire management of a great 
part of the war. 5 

If it was easy for Administration congressmen to doubt the 
capacity of the American leaders. It was much easier for members 
of the Republican minority to distrust the capacity, if not the 
devotion, of any Democrats. Accepting the position of a minority 
party was a trait only partially acquired by the Republicans of 
1917. The tradition of Democratic incompetence had been re- 
stated so often that it was believed. Republicans were now, more- 
over, facing the preliminaries of a congressional election due in 


19185 an election that might leave them still a minority or redound 
to their advantage. The political schism of 1912, healing in 1916, 
was still less than completely healed; the scars of party battle left 
the party stiff. But the Republican leaders had no notion of let- 
ting themselves be left after the World War in a discredited ob- 
scurity like that from which Democrats had suffered after 1865. 
Their Congressional Campaign Committee was due to be renewed 
in February, 1918, and the National Committee was ripe for a 
reorganization with 1920 in view. The party must close its ranks. 
Issues that would be both profitable and safe must be discovered. 
And thus it happened that political interest reinforced human in- 
stability and the mechanics of the Constitution to create entangle- 
ments from which the President must extricate himself before he 
might carry the War of 1917 into its third phase that of opera- 
tion. Six months, roughly, had gone into planning; and another 
six were going into setting up an organization which was now in 
many directions farther advanced than that of England had gone 
in twenty-eight months. Congress reassembled in December, 
1917, prepared to challenge Wilson's constitutional position as 
Commander in Chief. 

Only one American division had taken its place on the line of 
battle when Congress took up the business of the new session, 
with its mind crowded with doubt as to the effectiveness of what 
had been done. The First Division, whose initial units William 
L. Sibert had taken to France (and from whose command he was 
about to be relieved by Robert Lee Bullard), had moved into its 
sector on October 21, but its successors were not yet in sight. 
Lloyd George, with an interest in comparisons, could point out 
that in a similar six months in 1914 England had sent more than 
350,000 men to the front. He could not understand why the 
United States had sent so few or had sent them so slowly. Nor 
could Pershing understand. The curtain whose folds of secrecy 
concealed the front from the rear concealed also the rear from the 
front. It seemed strange to the American general that troops did 
not come faster. He was aware that in Allied counsels the convic- 
tion was deepening that the next great aggressive must wait upon 


Ms army, and that the war would be won only with the Americans. 
He agreed with this, differing from the other commanders only in 
his idea as to who should command the Americans in battle; they 
or he. In conferences held in London in December it was agreed 
that he ought to have in France at least twenty-four divisions by 
the end of June, 1918, but there was no schedule of shipments that 
as yet promised any such total. The men were In camp. He knew 
that, the Allies knew it, and there was every reason to suppose the 
enemy knew It; but he distrusted their training. He had sent back 
Sibert, the earliest of his divisional commanders, and he would 
not have been of the old Army if he had not believed the War 
Department always to be lax. 

It was certain that the performance after eight months was far 
less than had been hoped or enthusiastically promised. The Ad- 
ministration was bound to find out why and Congress could not 
fail to make Its own inquiry and come to its own conclusion. 
Either more had been promised than could be delivered or the 
creakings of the mechanism of the war machine Indicated funda- 
mental errors of schemes or men. 

The Adjutant-General knew that there were more than one 
million soldiers in various stages of preparation in the United 
States when Congress met. The Initial notion that American 
participation would not Include fighting in France had been for- 
gotten. Statesmen, when they have turned to write their memoirs, 
have been disposed to forget they ever held it. Pessimists were 
now restating the notion in a different form: that progress was so 
slow that It would be better to send only goods and cash, and not 
waste ships on driblets of troops. A second American division was 
not expected to be ready for any front before March, and the train- 
ing program in the United States was already under criticism from 
G.H.Q. at Chaumont on the ground of inadequacy . 

It was a large program. The easiest of its parts was what had 
been feared as the hardest: the enrollment of men under the draft 
law. It was now open to debate whether the hardest part was the 
housing of the levies in their new camps, the equipment of them 
with uniforms and weapons, or their instruction in the duties of 


the soldier. Many things that had not heretofore been included 
among the essential processes of mobilization were absorbing time 
and attention, complicating the strictly military details. 

The protection of the soldier, once he was drafted, had implica- 
tions touching the effectiveness of the Army, the future of the 
Treasury, and the politics of the war. Every process in mobiliza- 
tion was somewhat retarded by the determination to make it 
adequate. The War Missions, full of advice, were full of warnings 
of mistakes to be avoided. Men who were taken by law from the 
normal channels of their lives, and who were to be exposed to 
death, were entitled to every safeguard that the Government could 
provide. This was both fair and prudent. Soldiers were entitled 
to be treated as willing components of a democratic army, and 
obvious treatment of them as such stilled many of the doubts and 
worries that would be inconsistent with their freest performance in 
the line. 

Gompers, in his Labor Committee of the Council of National 
Defense, was one of the starting points for the consideration of 
soldiers' insurance. Early in July the insurance men were brought 
into conference since the action to be taken might involve an 
intrusion of the Government upon the field of private insurance. 
Judge Julian W. Mack of Cincinnati was commissioned to work 
out a scheme of compensation, and the insurance companies were 
found quite ready to let the Government undertake the special 
risks involved in war hazard. Baker accepted the idea; McAdoo 
gave it his approval because the Treasury was not only already 
involved in insurance matters through its duty to carry the war 
risks of shipping, but was certain to become more heavily involved 
if history should repeat itself after the war. The cost of the Civil 
War was only begun when the fighting stopped. Thereafter, until 
the last veteran died, the Pension Bureau was the protector of the 
old soldier and the target of raid after raid. Pension attorneys 
and 'professional' veterans, backed often by the Grand Army 
of the Republic, made a great demonstration of the power of 
pressure politics as they drove Congress into pension legislation. 
The Treasury had a keen interest in the adoption of a considered 


policy respecting claims before the claims should be sentimental- 
ized by blood and suffering, or exploited by pressure. 

The Importance of soldier protection In the larger politics of 
war management was obvious. In a war for democracy and 
In the United States the World War had taken on this aspect 
It was necessary to avoid the appearance of loading the cost upon 
a single class of citizens. The young men who went to war had 
burden enough In the physical risk that they alone would carry. 
The family solicitudes behind them were too real to be ignored. 
The honest distaste for any draft procedure had been overcome; 
there remained an equally honest reluctance to send an army to 
fight abroad. The bodies and the souls of the fighting men must 
be conserved wiiile the w r ar was on; their interest thereafter must 
be protected by a national pledge. 

Judge Mack's committee drafted its project so promptly that 
it was ready for Introduction in Congress early in August, and his 
bill was so adequate that Its progress w r as not retarded by debate. 
It was delayed only by the cro\vded docket of the houses. The 
Bureau of War Risk Insurance, created in 1914, w r as accepted 
as the nucleus around which to assemble the machinery for ful- 
filling the obligations now for the first time accepted in advance. 
It would have been less easy to define them had not the long 
agitation of the Progressive period for employers' liability, or 
workmen's compensation, prepared the public and the congres- 
sional mind. As the bill became a law on October 6, at the end 
of the session, Its principal headings touched upon family allow- 
ances, soldier allotments, compensation, and Insurance, To ad- 
minister all of these the Treasury bureau in charge was expanded 
to include some thirteen thousand employees, whose filing cases 
soon held more than four million separate accounts that must 
be kept accurate to the last cent, and in a condition to be explained 
by correspondence to the soldiers themselves and to their ex- 
pectant dependents. 

The family allowance was an obligation assumed by the United 
States in recognition of Its responsibility to the dependent family 
of the fighting man. It was less important in fact than in appear- 


ance, for the draft boards were in the habit of giving deferred 
classification to married men, even when their greater average 
age would not have made them as a class less liable to duty than 
the younger bachelors. Up to fifty dollars a month, from enlist- 
ment to one month after death, was to be paid to dependents, 
according to a scale beginning with fifteen dollars to a wife. 

The soldier's allotment was in recognition of the soldier's 
obligation to his own dependents. Where allowances were granted, 
allotments to supplement them were held back from soldier pay 
and passed directly to the dependents. At least fifteen dollars 
per month in every case, the allotments could not run to more 
than half the pay. 

Compensation was a Government obligation. If the soldier died 
in the line of duty his widow, until remarriage, might draw a 
monthly income with a seventy-five-dollar maximum. Should 
he be disabled, the compensation during disability was based 
upon an elaborate table of rates; and behind it all was an assump- 
tion that the obligation of the Government to its mutilated de- 
fenders had no limit. 

Insurance was another matter. The commercial companies 
had no basis upon which to compute the war hazard and shrank 
from entering upon a speculative venture that might result in 
disaster if the war should be long and the death rate high. The 
Government accordingly prepared to provide insurance at cost, 
carrying the overhead as a charge of war. It not only became 
permissible for every member of the armed forces to buy term 
insurance up to ten thousand dollars, with the premiums de- 
ducted from his pay, but earnest campaigns were engineered to 
persuade all of them to take advantage of the attractive specula- 
tion. In 1919 it was reported that 4,561,974 individual policies 
had been written aggregating insurance in excess of thirty-eight 
billion dollars. 

The organization of the bureaus to carry the obligations inci- 
dental to the war taxed the Army and Navy, whose records of 
service and title must be complete and accurate, and the Treasury, 
whose duty to account for every cent could not be evaded, war 


or peace. The obligations other than financial assumed with 
reference to the armed forces touched upon the character and the 
morale of the soldier and induced trial -and-error approach to 
conditions of war that had never been portrayed by the romantic 

Raymond B. Fosdick was well known in the War Department 
before the draft law was passed, and even before war was declared. 
He had been sent by Baker to the camps along the Mexican 
Border in the summer of 1916, and upon his advice the Secre- 
tary had accepted as another of his duties that of lessening the 
scourge of venereal disease. The 'women of the army 3 had hereto- 
fore been regarded as the unavoidable accompaniments of war, 
and at times they had provided the themes for literature as though 
they were heroic. Commanding officers had never known what 
to do with them or how to get along without them. They had 
filled the armies with venereal disease, breeding long sick-lists to 
lessen effectiveness in action, and impregnating soldiers so that 
the curse of war descended to their children and their grand- 
children after the war was over. The result was both indecent 
and expensive. It was now no longer necessary, for medical 
prophylaxsis had learned how to eliminate the disease, and needed 
only to be allowed to strip from it the hypocrisy behind which 
even the name of syphilis was rarely mentioned. Writing to 
Funston in August, 1916, after Fosdick had reported upon the 
open prostitution and the segregated districts of the Border towns, 
Baker had promised to 'support and sustain 5 every effort the 
commander should make to clean his camp. Fosdick carried by 
word of mouth the warning that a failure to eliminate venereal 
disease would bring about a change in command. 

The Army had learned that Baker was in earnest before it 
undertook to prepare for war. The civil authorities near the 
camps learned it when in August, 1917, Baker warned the mayors 
that if they did not control alcohol and prostitution he would 
shift the camps from their vicinity to other sites. So far as the 
disease was concerned, the Surgeon- General was able to equip 
the forces with medical officers prepared to treat it. Fosdick con- 


tinned at Baker's side, throwing his strength into an effort to 
prevent it. Prompt medical treatment was indeed to be provided, 
but the opportunity for infection was to be cut down, and a wide 
assortment of decent and wholesome occupations was offered to 
fill the soldier's mind and time when he went off duty. 

A Commission on Training Camp Activities was at work before 
Congress met in December. Morale work around the camps was 
entrusted largely to the local fraternal organizations, Maccabees, 
Odd Fellows, and the rest. They were encouraged to organize 
activities in recreation. Athletic enterprises were promoted; so 
successfully in the United States and in France that a new heavy- 
weight champion was in due time manufactured out of a private 
in the Marine Corps, Gene Tunney. And the service agencies 
that were allowed to go abroad, whether in the uniform of the 
Y.M.C.A. or that of the Salvation Army, were given the mission 
to keep the mind of the Army clean. 

It added complications to the already overcomplicated task 
of Army administration to have numerous civilian services work- 
ing with the men, but it lessened the sick-list. It added difficulties, 
too, in France, where sexual irregularities and morals were less 
closely connected than in the United States, but it contributed 
a new chapter to the history of mass sanitation. The effort to 
support the morale services provided a basis for new drives to 
raise funds in the United States for their maintenance; and each 
of the drives had its results in solidifying still more completely the 
public opinion behind the American enterprise. But through the 
late autumn of 1917, when criticism of every aspect of war en- 
deavor was getting ready to erupt in open attack, the determina- 
tion to make war safe for the soldier added another to the long 
list of things that must be done. The Allied armies had escaped 
some of this confusion and experiment as they grew in size, for 
the emergency before them had been too pressing to admit of 
non-vital essentials, and their administrators had not before them 
for their guidance the experiences and mistakes of their associates. 

The Congress resumed its work on Monday, December 3; the 
President addressed it on Tuesday; the declaration of war against 


Austria-Hungary became a law on Friday; and on Wednesday 
of its second week the Senate Committee on Military Affairs 
began a searching investigation of the American effort in mobiliza- 
tion. Crozier, the Chief of Ordnance, was the first witness called 
to testify upon the capacity and intelligence of the Administration. 
In his cross-examination began the debate upon the fitness of the 
President to command the Army and to direct the war. There 
was politics in the investigation, but there was more concern. 
There w T as no obvious way by which the Congress could itself 
take the command from hands which it might believe to be in- 
competent; but the suspicion that the American effort had thus 
far miscarried drove members to a search for a way to speed the 

The Committee on Military Affairs did not wait for a resolution 
of the Senate to direct it to its task. Senator George E. Chamber- 
lain, its chairman, knew his own mind and had used his interest 
and driving power to advance the Army bills as they had come 
along during the first session. For fifteen weeks now, he and his 
associates listened to the testimony of men who were under fire 
and who often believed with him that there was something funda- 
mentally wrong. They plowed through testimony bearing upon 
the activities of the War Department until it took twenty-five 
hundred pages to carry the record of the hearings. Chamber- 
lain pursued the investigation until the winter changed to spring, 
until grave doubt had given way to hope, and until the War 
Department had by its own internal reforms increased its capacity 
to do its duty. But before the attack was abandoned, it had pro- 
duced schemes for the reorganization of the war agencies and 
counter-schemes for strengthening the hand of the Commander 
in Chief. 

The tales told by the witnesses carried more interest for con- 
temporaries than value for the historian. They brought out details 
of what had or had not happened during eight months of effort. 
Many of the details were fresh to the public, however stale they 
were to workers in the Government. They related mostly to 
conditions prevalent earlier than December, and no longer in 


existence at the date of the hearings. They indicated both the 
enthusiasm of the effort and the inexperience of many of those 
who had to make it. And they were news. The press followed 
Chamberlain's string of witnesses, giving them much space in the 
dispatches out of Washington during the winter. The testimony 
had a tone different from that pervading the daily releases of the 
Committee on Public Information. It reflected long-restrained 
grievances of subordinates whose advice had been disregarded, 
and the tendential questions asked by the inquisitors indicated a 
willingness to believe that the grievances were well-founded. 
It was all the easier to believe the worst because when questioners 
approached what were to them the present conditions in the 
War Department there were good military reasons for withholding 
specific replies. 

While the headlines carried the story of the unpreparedness 
with which the war started and related new details respecting 
attempts in organization that had failed, the current news of 
December and January fitted nicely into a picture of general 
incompetence. It was stated that production of war materials 
lagged, that clothing supplies for the troops were inadequate, 
that arms and equipment were insufficient. If Pershing's opinion 
of the War Department had been known to the public, and if the 
small total of troops in France had been revealed, the reaction 
adverse to the Government would have been even more bitter 
than it was. The curtain of secrecy concealed these things, but it 
could not hide a breakdown in the basic matters of railroad 
service and coal supply. Tive months of crippled endeavor have 
passed, 5 wrote George Harvey as early as September. In December 
he asked: c Are we losing the war?' In January he began the 
publication of his War Weekly, inquiring: 'How long can he [the 
President] carry the whole burden of war alone?' It is hard to 
reconcile his bitter criticism of the Administration and Baker 
in their conduct of the war with his avowed desire to assist them, 
but the very existence of his weekly vituperation testified to the 
earnestness of the doubt prevailing in many quarters during these, 
the darkest weeks of war. 


The railroads were overburdened in spite of the desperate 
efforts of the Railroads War Board to operate them as a team. 
They had too much to do during the summer as camp materials 
were moved to camp sites and as men were moved into camp and 
out again. When in the late autumn the factories began to dis- 
gorge, long trains of coal, iron, and lumber, and of finished goods, 
started to the ports of shipment, and congestion swamped all 
facilities. Ships were too few, of course. Docks and warehouse 
space were inadequate. Freight yards could not hold the trains. 
And when snow and frost crippled the switches and impeded the 
operation of the terminals, the wiiole system of transportation 
in the United States began to creak and crack. 

The Interstate Commerce Commission reported to Congress 
at the beginning of December that a strong arm was needed to 
direct the railroads and that unification w r as imperative. The 
lines east of Chicago, at least, needed to be operated as a national 
unit, regardless of ownership. The pooling of freight cars, an 
essential part of unification, was already authorized by law r , but 
it was impossible for the roads under private management to 
pool the revenues and make fair compensations to the lines that 
were sure to suffer if competition w r as abandoned. The conditions 
prevailing in the Eastern freight yards, as Christmas approached, 
suggested a greater degree of confusion than really existed, and 
brought more blame than was reasonable, for neither private nor 
public management could have controlled the weather. But 
yardmasters could not receive the loaded trains as they pulled in 
or unload the freight. Warehouses could not hold it, even if un- 
loaded. Ships could not hurry their c turn-around* so as to move it. 
There were stories of consignments stored on the wheels, in trains 
that were routed back to the West still carrying the goods they 
bore from factories to ports. 

On December 26 the rumors of impending seizure were con- 
firmed by announcement that under the law of August 29, 1916, 
the President would in two days take over the management of 
all the railroads. The administration of the system was vested 
in a Director-General of Railroads, to which post McAdoo was 


named. The tireless energy of the son-in-law of the President 
seemed to have no limits as he now assigned a share of his strength 
to the railroad job. Before many weeks he took away from the 
officials of the roads the responsibility for their immediate manage- 
ment and vested the operation in his own appointees, who were 
sometimes the same persons, but who were now clothed with the 
authority of the United States. The railroad presidents became 
merely the executives of corporations owning property that the 
United States had leased. When Congress reassembled after its 
short Christmas recess it found an additional duty awaiting per- 
formance. Not until March was nearly over did it complete the 
law regulating the time and terms of Federal management of 

The average earnings in the three fiscal years 1914-17 were 
made the basis for the rent to be paid by the Government during 
the period of control by the Railroad Administration. The private 
companies had found it hard to borrow for betterments. But 
betterments could not be avoided, and the law of March 2i 5 1918, 
put at the disposal of the Director-General a revolving fund of 
five hundred millions for capital investment. It was one of the 
consequences of war finance that the Government occupied the 
money market, making it next to impossible for private industry 
to borrow at reasonable rates; the Government accordingly as- 
sumed the task of financing the railways as a war cost. The Rail- 
road Administration became the sixth of the great war agencies 
with which the normal mechanism of the Government was sur- 

Railroad labor, as well as railroad finance, became a responsi- 
bility of the United States, for the unions felt the cost of rising 
prices, and their incessant demands for wage increases were 
among the burdens that made private management totter. And 
what had to be done by the Government In matters of railroad 
finance and labor became precedents for an extension of its 
authority into all the fields of finance and labor before the spring 
was gone. The railroad crisis, coining at a moment when doubts 
were strong as to the success of mobilization, made the doubts 


more serious. One of the specialized worries had to do with fuel, 
bringing Garfield and Ms Fuel Administration into the picture 
during January. 

When the Fuel Administration was created, August 23, 191 7, 
It was more clear that something must be done than just what 
it should be. Harry A. Garfield, blessed with a well-known name 
but cursed with academic connection, was not a coal man, and 
because of this he had to struggle against an expectation that he 
would be incompetent. The President, having rebuked the 
Council of National Defense for transgressing Its powers In an 
attempt to fix the price of coal, had fixed it under his own powers 
just before Garfield was installed. To Garfield he left problems 
of production, labor relationship, and distribution. Price had a 
vital connection with the gross supply, because In addition to the 
great deposits of high-grade coal In the United States there is a 
wide distribution of inferior coal that can be mined and sold only 
when prices are above the average. There was a broad sector 
of the Industry that could be occupied by producers who normally 
did not produce coal at all, but who could, under stress, mine 
the more easily worked veins of poor coal If the price were high 
enough. Since the highest price of the last ton mined would fix 
the national price of coal, It w T as certain that a price high enough 
to bring all the deposits Into use would bring also unwarranted 
profits to the more fortunate producers. Some of these might be 
recaptured by the war excess-profits taxes, but not until after 
an Inflated price of coal had done damage to the coal consumer. 
It was a nice task to set the price at the proper level. 

The distribution of coal, one of the greatest charges upon the 
railroad system, w r as the crux of fuel control; and this became 
jammed In December with the rest of the program. McAdoo, 
hopeful that his Railroad Administration would work well, was 
optimistic about the fuel problem early In January. Garfield was 
pessimistic; and specially pessimistic because one of the causes 
of the congestion at the ports was the inability of the steamships 
to fill their bunkers. He was not ready as yet for the system of 
zone distribution that was later adopted to eliminate cross-haul 


by requiring each major division of the United States to get along 
on its own coal supply. He had appreciated the difference be- 
tween the conditions governing coal as fuel and those of oil, and 
had on January 10 appointed Mark L. Requa of California, one 
of Hoover's associates, to be chief of an oil division of the Fuel 
Administration. But nothing had forewarned the country of the 
summary action taken a few days later in the announcement of 
the coal-less days. 

On Friday, January 18, and for four days thereafter, and then 
on Mondays for nine more weeks, industry east of the Mississippi 
was directed to go slow on coal. Plants were required to close 
down to a Sunday basis. Exceptions were made for essential 
industries and for war manufacture; but the intent of the order 
of the Fuel Administration was to lighten traffic, clear the lines, 
and let coal get to the ships at the ports of embarkation. A wave 
of indignant protest was set off by the publication of the fuel 
holiday order. It brought home the war. Said the Outlook: it 
was a c call of all hands to the pumps'; said the President, when 
efforts to induce him to overrule his subordinate reached the 
White House: We are on a war footing.' And the order stood. 

But the necessity for the order, if it was necessary, or the outrage 
of it, if it was not needed, gave new acerbity to the discussions of 
the inadequacy of the Administration. Republicans, who might 
be expected to be critical, became more critical. Many Democrats 
were sunk in despair. And one of the latter, Chamberlain, the 
director of the investigations, went to New York on the second 
coal holiday, Saturday, January 19, to talk about the war before 
an audience assembled by the National Security League. Root 
was at the speaker's table, as was Roosevelt, who led the cheering 
at the end of the address, after the chairman of the Senate Com- 
mittee on Military Affairs declared 'that the Military Establish- 
ment of America has fallen down. There is no use to be optimistic 
about a thing that does not exist. It has almost stopped function- 
ing . . . because of inefficiency in every bureau and in every de- 
partment of the Government of the United States/ The issue 
was joined on Monday when the President, after securing from 


Chamberlain a verification of Ms words, declared the charge to 
be an astonishing and absolutely unjustifiable distortion of the 
truth, 5 

The degree to which the military effort had broken down was 
and must remain largely a matter of subjective judgment. The 
whole program was too vast for any but the President to know 
or comprehend its whole, and Ms personal responsibility made 
his personal opinion of Its success insufficient to establish It. But 
he, more completely than any of his critics., knew what It was 
about. For nine months the United States had been at war. 
The accomplishment, with all Its defects, was distinguished when 
judged against the background of unreadiness as it existed In 
April, 1917. But the United States, after nine months, was still 
far from ready to meet the enemy on the battlefield. This seemed 
like failure to those who thought In terms of what there was, 
rather than in terms of distance gone. 

At the moment when Wilson gave the He to Chamberlain there 
came into clash two sets of forces out of whose combat was to 
emerge the solution of the problem of command. The President 
was himself steadily remodeling the war machine. He began this 
about the time when Scott retired from the War Industries Board 
and when Baker determined to let Bliss remain Chief of Staff 
until a younger general should establish himself as an adequate 
successor. The specific conditions displayed by the Chamberlain 
Investigations no longer existed on the day they were brought to 
light. They had become historical. "While Chamberlain was at- 
tacking set-ups that had been abandoned, the Administration 
kept its own counsel and continued to adapt set-up to changing 
conditions and experience. Chamberlain, as Inquisitor, was 
forced into a greater prominence than he desired. It Is possible 
that he had not yet forgiven Wilson for selecting Baker rather 
than himself to be Secretary of War upon the retirement of Garri- 
son. He could not avoid being widely advertised by such political 
forces as were seeking grounds to attack the Administration. 
What he sought was not politics, but some new principle of com- 
mand, consistent with the Constitution and better than that of 


sole presidential authority. Rumors of this search had floated 
through Washington in December when Congress reassembled, 
and had evoked from Charles Michelson, who was signing his 
dispatches as a Washington correspondent, the comment that a 
'war council 5 idea 'jibes with the President's notions of carrying 
on the war like pickles in ice cream.' War council, coalition 
cabinet, munitions ministry, or something of the sort was in the 

Theodore Roosevelt, whose friends were warranted in believing 
that behind the authority of his name the Republican Party would 
present a united front in 1920, reached Washington on Tuesday 
morning, January 22, with the slogan: Tell the truth and speed 
up the war.' At Longworth's home he was visited by those who 
agreed with him. He spoke the words of patriotism; meant them; 
but his conferences with Republicans in Congress gave a political 
color to his mission that could not be explained away. He could 
not forgive the military decision that kept him from the battlefield. 
He could not believe that good could come from Wilson. Even 
before he arrived, the news of his coming coupled with the Presi- 
dent's rebuke of Chamberlain set tongues wagging in Congress. 
Stone of Missouri, who had been unwilling to fight Germans in 
April, was more than ready to fight Republican hecklers in Janu- 
ary. He charged partisanship against them all; against Roosevelt, 
as 'the most seditious man of consequence in America 5 ; against 
Wilcox, chairman of the Republican National Committee, who 
had called an unusual meeting for St. Louis on February 12, to 
name a new chairman and to prepare for both the congressional 
election of 1918 and the presidential campaign of 1920; and 
against Penrose, whom the course of the war had thrown into an 
unusual sympathy with the course of Roosevelt. Roosevelt coun- 
tered the charges as a private citizen. Penrose countered them in 
the Senate, defending the duty of the minority c to remedy inef- 
ficiency and abuses' by criticising them, and to maintain the 
integrity of their party in opposition. He and Roosevelt were 
alike in discarding one of the suggestions for improvement: that 
of a coalition Cabinet. Neither believed that bi-partisan ad- 


ministration had succeeded in England or desired to attempt it in 
the United States. 

\Vhen the dust of combat subsided it revealed a concrete pro- 
posal for an improvement in administration to be obtained by the 
creation of a munitions minister or ministry. To this end Chamber- 
Iain presented to the Senate on January 21 a bill c to create a war 
cabinet, to be composed of three distinguished citizens of demon- 
strated executive ability . . . through which war cabinet the Presi- 
dent may exercise such of the powers conferred on him by the 
Constitution and the laws ... as are hereinafter mentioned and 
described.' Chamberlain had discussed his project at the White 
House a fortnight earlier, and had been advised by the President 
as early as January 1 1 that the latter was fundamentally opposed 
to it. The British experiments with a munitions ministry and a 
small war cabinet were attractive precedents to those w r hose under- 
standing of the British system of government was less complete 
than that of Woodrow Wilson. When Wilson now challenged the 
truth of the charge of breakdown, and indicated that it would be 
fought to the end. Chamberlain's bill was lost before it was printed, 
It was conceivable that the President was incompetent to wage 
the w T ar, yet it w r as he and not Congress that was designated as 
Commander in Chief. His Cabinet was what he conceived to be 
a War Cabinet; and, lacking the power to take from him his con- 
stitutional right of appointment, Congress was impotent to elevate 
to control better men than he could be induced to name. It was 
not possible to dislodge him from the position of President as 
described In the Constitution. 

While Chamberlain, losing confidence in the agents of the 
Government, was assembling testimony to indicate inept admin- 
istration, and was advancing toward his explosion point, the 
President was shuffling the cards and arranging new combinations 
to advance the war. It is not possible to separate the part of this 
shuffling that may have been Inspired by fear of trouble with 
Congress from the part induced by the experience of the eight 
months since the war began. The opposition declared that the 
changes were forced upon the Administration by criticism; it is 


not necessary to believe that the Administration told the whole 
truth in claiming them to have been entirely spontaneous. How- 
ever they came about, they put the administration of the war 
upon a new plane between December and May. 

The Chamberlain investigations were only a few days old 
when Baker announced the creation of a War Council, consisting 
of the Chief of Staff and the more important bureau chiefs, whose 
function was to 'oversee and co-ordinate all matters of supply 
of our field armies and the military relations between the armies 
in the field and the War Department. 5 He explained the new 
agency as not inspired by either the investigations or the situation 
reported from the Inter-Ally Conference. He told the Chamber- 
lain Committee a few days later that it was a next step, now that 
'initial supply and organization had been substantially disposed 
of. 3 When, eight months later, he dissolved the War Council and 
assigned its rooms to the statistical branch of the General Staff, 
George Harvey noted the disappearance in his War Weekly. Harvey 
was not sure whether the Council had been created because of 
the incompetency of Baker or as a device to get rid of inadequate 
bureau chiefs by promoting them upstairs. The fact that the 
chiefs were relieved of routine duties on account of their new 
responsibilities gave support to the latter interpretation. But 
whatever the reason, the War Council had outlived its usefulness 
by July, 1918. Two of its members had come to cast so long a 
shadow as to obscure their colleagues. March and Baruch had 
the American end of the war in hand. It had been more than 
suspected in the winter that one of the reasons for the creation of 
the Council was the impotence of the General Staff, with its 
brains picked for duty abroad. There may have been a chance 
that the Council, dominated by the bureaus that never liked the 
General Staff, would come to dominate it. But nothing could 
overshadow Peyton C. March, once Baker had chosen him and 
had installed him in the office of Chief of Staff. 

At the desk of Sharpe, who moved upstairs into the Council, 
a place was at last found for Major-General George W. Goethals, 
as acting Quartermaster-General. The Emergency Fleet Corpora- 


toon was not the place for the builder of the Panama Canal to 
function happily; In the War Department 5 however, and as chief 
of a section of the General Staff with oversight of the whole 
quartermaster business, Goethals found Ms role. He brought a 
young cavalry officer with him, Robert E. Wood, who had been 
his quartermaster at Panama, who speedily became a brigadier- 
general and who later turned his war experience Into post-war 
advantage by rising to the head of Sears,, Roebuck and Company. 
He borrowed another cavalryman, when Crowder was through 
with him Hugh S. Johnson. Goethals drove the business of 
procurement with a maximum of courage and a minimum of 
red tape until his P.S. & T. the Purchase, Storage, and Traffic 
Division of the General Staff controlled the whole field. Even 
If he could not work with 'boards* he knew how to work under 
military superiors., the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War. 
His admirers and the admirers of Bernard M. Baruch have not 
been able to agree which of the two, the military head or the 
civilian, was the great master of the material side of the American 
reinforcement. But between them, they were *it. s 

Goethals, who rounded out Ms career as a procurement officer, 
was as such only an experiment when In December he became 
acting Quartermaster-General. He was only one of Baker's 
guesses at good management. Stettlnius was another guess, and 
one equally well grounded. Edward R. Stettinius had made him- 
self head of the Diamond Match Company before the house of 
Morgan found him. The finding was consequence of a deliberate 
search for a new partner to take charge of the investment of Allied 
money in the materials of war. Stettinius had spent three billions 
of this money, to the satisfaction of the Allies and of the Morgans, 
before Baker annexed him to the War Department as Surveyor- 
General of Army Purchases. This was announced In the midst 
of the Chamberlain drive, and was hailed as the creation of the 
equivalent of a director of munitions. It preceded by a few days 
the announcement that March was to come back from France 
to be acting Chief of Staff. Stettinius was made an Assistant 
Secretary of War in April, and fulfilled with meticulous exactness 


the demand of Chamberlain for 'distinguished citizens of demon- 
strated executive ability.' A third of the good guesses as to per- 
sonnel had been made in November when Major Benedict Crowell 
had been induced to resign his commission in the Army to become 
an Assistant Secretary of War, with general oversight over muni- 
tions. Crowell was a Cleveland mining engineer, who had been 
with the General Munitions Board before entering the Army. 
He became Director of Munitions in 1918. 

Unruffled by the investigations and keeping his temper under 
the barrage of criticism, Baker continued upon the job in hand. 
There was no sign of wavering on the part of Wilson, who stood 
behind him. The tactic of the Administration in meeting the 
storm when it broke was worked out promptly. Confidence in 
its success was so complete that, having called new aides to his 
side and having summoned March, the Secretary of War quietly 
disappeared from the news at the end of February. He arrived in 
France upon an inspection trip on March 10; and soon there- 
after his black civilian derby and his unimpressive stature made 
their appearance in the illustrated papers among resplendent 
generals, as he visited the front and the rear to see with his own 
eyes what the A.E.F. was doing. He had not only set the War 
Department upon a new and final course, but he had also drawn 
enough of the teeth of the Chamberlain investigation to lessen 
the hurt of its bite. 

The hearings before the Senate Committee on Military Affairs 
increased in interest from December into January. They brought 
the inquiry to a crisis over the week-end of January 19-21, and 
they declined in consequence during the next few weeks. Public 
tension relaxed as it was discovered that heatless days did not 
mean disaster, as new news gave new subjects for thought, and 
as the rigors of winter were softened by the approach of spring. 
The relaxation was advanced by the appearances of the Secretary 
of War before the Chamberlain Committee to give direct testi- 
mony upon the state of preparation. 

After extracting from his subordinates their impression of the 
difficulties under which they had worked and the lack of unison 


from which they had suffered through the summer, the Committee 
summoned Baker. He went on the stand on January 10; and 
thereafter he was In and out of the Committee until the end of 
the month. The first days of his testimony suggest to the reader 
that he underestimated the Importance of congressional and public 
uneasiness and that he treated the hearings as routine and the 
Inquisitors as contentious. He was well aware of personal and 
political hostility, such as that of Senator Sherman of Illinois, 
who described him as "half pacifist and the other half Socialist. 5 
But he was conscious., too, of White House backing, for on the 
day after his first session Wilson wrote emphatically to Chamber- 
lain In disapproval of the war cabinet idea. 

It was not easy for those who lived, worked., and slept with the 
war to realize how little the public knew of what was going on. 
But the flare-up set off by Chamberlain In New York reminded 
the Administration that the state of the public mind was as Im- 
portant as the condition of the Army, and that the distrusts, how- 
ever ungrounded, were genuine. The Secretary, who had not 
done himself much good by his first appearance, asked for a 
second appointment with the Committee, returned to it on Janu- 
ary 28, and at that time turned the drift of thought and feeling. 
He had a better text than on the earlier occasion, for Chamberlain 
had now not only launched his charges and Introduced his law, 
but he had also elaborated both at great length before the Senate 
as he made a personal defense against the retort of the President. 

There were few Americans more effective In exposition than 
Baker, when he took the occasion seriously; and now, as he re- 
viewed nine months of war in the presence of the Committee on 
Military Affairs, he looked over the heads of his hearers to the 
great public that needed to be reassured. Even yet he spoke with 
caution; for In the background was an enemy watchful for every 
fragment of testimony that might reveal a military secret. He 
was, Indeed, as Palmer has said, 'walking on eggs. 9 He could at 
least tell his hearers that instead of having, as Roosevelt had 
demanded, five hundred thousand men who could be sent to 
France In 1918, he would have that many actually there early 


in the year. He dared not say how bitterly the Allies were urging 
the American reinforcement, but he could tell of the million and 
a half who would be ready to be shipped If tonnage could be found. 
He could describe the welfare of the Army and ask, c Has any 
army In history ever, since the beginning of time, been so raised 
and cared for as this army has been? 5 He could not tell precisely 
what he was soon going to inspect in France, but he could check 
the Impatience of his audience by recollection 3 and remind it that 
Trance was a white sheet of paper, so far as we were concerned, 
and on that we had not only to write an army ... we had to go 
back to the planting of corn in France in order that we might 
make a harvest. 9 

The Secretary was not willing to reveal the uncertainty of the 
Supreme War Council, whose members were at the moment en 
route to a meeting at Versailles. If they had even yet no affirmative 
program of military affairs for 1918, he could not make one for 
them; but he could tell what Pershing had found in the preceding 
June, when France was demoralized and Petain was at work 
restoring its morale. And his description of the day when first 
the advance guard of the A.E.F. appeared upon the streets of 
Paris still tingles the reader of the Official Bulletin, or of the Con- 
gressional Record in which the testimony was reprinted in spite of 
Republican objection, or of the daily press through which reas- 
surance reached the citizen. Two days later Baker took lunch 
publicly with Chamberlain in the Senate restaurant; and on Feb- 
ruary 6 Overman of North Carolina introduced in the Senate a 
War Department draft that was the Administration alternative 
to the corrective legislation of the Military Affairs Committee. 

It was the contention of the critics that the Administration was 
too lax to run the war; the reply of the Administration was that 
the war was well run, that it was out of the confusion of the first 
half-year of planning, that it was nearly out of the second half- 
year of organization, and that it was on the verge of operation. 
la place of new laws to tie the hands of the President and teach 
Mm his duty, the Administration asked a relief from red tape and 
statutory interference. Few statutes have in so few words sur- 


so much; and none has vested more discretion in the 
President than was done by the Overman Act, which received 
his signature on May 2O 9 1918. 

In the controversy over the command of the Army It was 
Wilson, backed by public opinion, who prevailed. Republican 
factionalists, so far as they were factionalism sniped at him from 
party committees and from editorial sanctums. Democratic party 
leaders had difficulty in moving with him as rapidly or as thor- 
oughly as he conceived that the public desired him to move. 
Leader of a party that had through three Congresses gained and 
retained the whole of the law-making machinery of the United 
States, Wilson was nevertheless, at one time or another, driven 
to lead without the support of his partisan lieutenants. Sometimes 
Clark was against him, though Speaker of the House; sometimes 
Claude Kitchin, chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means; 
sometimes Stone of Missouri, chairman of the Senate Committee 
on Foreign Relations. And now Martin of Virginia, party leader 
in the Senate, declined to stand sponsor for the measure vesting 
in the President full power of action. Burleson took the draft to 
Overman,, who consented to manage it. Crowder had drawn it 
up for Baker, two weeks before. 

The Overman Act remained in committee from February 6 
until Overman called it up at the end of March. It passed the 
Senate April 19 by a vote of 63 to 13, amended only by a specific 
grant of authority to rearrange aircraft production. The House 
accepted It without amendment, with but two votes In opposition 
to a majority of 294. It cut through checks and balances. For the 
continuance of the war, and for six months thereafter (unless the 
President should designate an earlier date), the Overman Act 
authorized him to redistribute the functions of executive agencies 
as he saw fit; c to utilize, co-ordinate, or consolidate any executive 
or administrative commissions, bureaus, agencies, offices, or 
officers now existing by law'; to create new agencies; to transfer, 
redistribute, or abolish the functions of others; and to utilize funds 
voted for any purpose for the accomplishment of that purpose by 
whatever means might to him seem good. The text of the act 


justified the jocose amendment hurled at It by Brandegee as it 
left the Senate: 'If any power, constitutional or not y has been 
inadvertently omitted from this bill, it is hereby granted in full. 1 
It was possible to joke about it, and from the floor of either house 
to criticize its concentration of authority, but public opinion had 
made up its mind about the management of the war, and few 
members of Congress desired to be left in the uncomfortable 
isolation of opposition. 

The American reinforcement was in full flow before the bill 
became a law; the First Division was in the line in front of Can- 
tigny, ready for its earliest independent venture; and the war 
machine at home was functioning. 


JL ULL executive responsibility for the management of the war 
was left with the President after the discussions and the legislation 
of the winter of 1918. He demanded that he be left unhampered, 
and that he be granted sweeping new powers, and Congress 
acceded to both demands. Thereafter, he was In complete com- 
mand. For whatever went well or badly, his became the accepted 
and unshiftabie responsibility. The Federal Government, muscle- 
bound by American preference, had been freed from peace-time 
restrictions In the process that began with the President's fund of 
one hundred millions and ended with the passage of the Overman 
Act. The half-dozen huge war boards were as many evidences of 
American willingness to meet emergency with emergency meth- 

The war boards were all functioning before the Overman Act 
was signed. Their directors were called in to meet with the Presi- 
dent on March 20, at which time it w r as suggested that they were to 
constitute a War Cabinet, supplementary to the regular Cabinet, 
with its ten secretaries. The War Council, created by Baker in the 
War Department in December, w r as on its way out, since the new 
Chief of Staff had no use for it. Neither it nor the War Cabinet 
managed to become a creative entity, but each did Its service as a 
symbol of Improving team-work. Each had to do with the Ameri- 
can reservoir of men and things out of which a military spearhead 
was being fabricated. 

The direction of the military spearhead at the front in France 
was a matter In which the effectiveness of the American reinforce- 
ment was involved. Pershing did not become sure of his status as 
co-commander until July, 1918. In February, when the Overman 


Act was introduced,, his pretensions to be a co-commander were an 
annoyance to the military authorities of the Allies. They had 
given up of an American reinforcement large enough to 

count before 1919, and he had presumed to sit In judgment upon 
It is as well that the men who had to work together 
the morass of plan and execution were not fully informed 
of what each of them thought about the others. This revelation had 
to wait until their memoirs saw the light. The reader of the 
memoirs and the correspondence can leara more about them than 
they about themselves. Knowledge at the time might easily 

have destroyed their capacity to work at all. s The Allies are very 
weak/ wrote Pershing, "and we must come to their relief this year 
[1918]. The year after may be too late. 5 

Pershlng, like the President, had on his hands a fight for per- 
mission to do his work Ms own way. Though he did not know the 
words in which his associates expressed their acid comments upon 
his plan or his capacity, he was aware that through his period of 
command he had against him most of the weight of professional 
wisdom as the Allies possessed It, He differed from the President 
In that the latter must rely chiefly on himself In conducting the 
fight, whereas the commander of the A.E.F. had behind Mm, 
persistently and loyally, the authority of the President of the 
United States as well as that of the Secretary of War. Neither 
Washington nor Grant could have believed in the possibility of an 
American commander whose hand should be so well upheld by 
the political agencies of the Government. Neither of them had 
been so upheld. 

The course of Pershing, in building an organization to cany a 
great American army as a "distinct and separate component/ 
met with disapproval and sabotage from the Allies, The Adminis- 
tration backed him up, but he had to bear full responsibility for 
his decisions. When he Issued his basic orders from Paris in July, 
1917, it was not suspected on either side of the Atlantic that the 
United States would fight in force. When he demanded an 
American sector on the Western Front, he raised a question that 
the Allies would have preferred unraised, but one for which there 


was no easy way to deny compliance. When he settled down In 
Chaumont, saw the Importance of the reduction of the German 
salient at St. Mihiel and the road to Metz behind that salient^ and 
directed his staff to begin the paper work for a first army enter- 
prise at this spot, he had escaped for the moment from the menace 
of amalgamation. When he began the consolidation of his lines of 
communication, south of Paris^ connecting Ms Atlantic ports 
with Ms Toul sector, his wisdom might be challenged, but not Ms 
certainty of purpose. He, like the military authorities of the 
Allies, had regrets over the thin stream of troops that landed in 
France even after the War Department had more than a million 
men In camp; but they, unlike himself, did not until after the 
close of their disastrous season of 1917 come to count on any heavy 
reinforcement. Thereafter, Lloyd George persuaded himself that 
they had all along been 'waiting for the Americans/ Eventually 
the British Premier convinced himself that the delay in providing 
what had not been contracted for constituted culpable delay. 

Pershing never lost sight of his ultimate army. His requisitions 
for its first million poured Into Washington and overwhelmed the 
bureaus and the committees. His specifications, of necessity, were 
amended repeatedly as Ms officers worked their way Into the 
details of training and equipment. Equally of necessity, the pro- 
curement officers in the United States were driven crazy by 
changes In specifications after they had let contracts and ar- 
ranged for the construction of new plants in which to make the 
munitions PersHng required. After his conference with House 
and Bliss, and the Supreme War Council, In December, 1917, 
PersMng set a specific goal for Baker: "We should plan to have 
In France by the end of June [1918] ... four army corps, or twenty- 
four divisions. In addition to the troops for the service of the rear/ 
This meant approximately a million men, for one man was 
needed at the rear for every two men at the front. The million 
men were, in fact, in France or on their way thither before July, 
but when PersMng demanded them he knew no way to get them. 

As the deliberations of the Supreme War Council revealed the 
impossibility of a major Allied aggressive against the enemy until 


or if the Americans should arrive, the disapproval of Pershing's 

determination to command them when they came forced Its way 
Into In Europe, and back to Washington. Few Intima- 

tions of It reached the public, but on the very day that Pershlng 
for his twenty-four division program, Lloyd George appealed 
Ms to House for x4merican troops 'even half- 

trained' to be mixed with seasoned veterans. He did not 
repudiate the desire for an army with a "national Identity/ but he 
wanted more than this. To this end he suggested that troops be 
shipped In excess of Pershlng's program, to become replacements 
in the British ranks. Haig had a plan for using them this way. 

By the time House and Bliss were back In Washington In mid- 
December the Administration was facing a choice between Persh- 
lng and Haig as Its military adviser, or Petaln, for the French 
commander was pressing Pershlng to let his regiments as they 
arrived be attached to French divisions. On Christmas Day 
cabled Pershlng, for the President, 'full authority to use the 
forces at your command as you deem wise/ This left the full 
responsibility for decision upon the table at Chaumont. 

The British had powerful leverage In all matters connected with 
the decision, for they controlled the ships. So long as the extent of 
the reinforcement depended on American bottoms it was little 
more than academic because the bottoms were too few to carry 
the men and their supplies. It was too much to expect that Britain 
would sacrifice Indispensable tonnage to carry troops to a destiny 
that Britain distrusted. When England, however, offered to find 
the ships for the carriage of troops In excess of Pershing's program, 
on the condition that Haig have a temporary right to use them, It 
provided a basis for a bargain. It did more; the admission that 
ships could be found made It increasingly harder for Sir Joseph 
Maclay, British Shipping Controller, to withhold on any ground 
of shortage the transport needed. Without the use of much British 
tonnage it was unlikely that even the minimum of twenty-four 
divisions would ever get to France. 

The bargaining over troops and tonnage was never ended. 
Between December and March it provided many opportunities for 


the Administration to overrule Pershing, or even to displace him, 
it been so disposed. Repeatedly the met, the 

American genera! stood firm. Often the Permanent Military 
Representatives of the Supreme War Council, united in February 
as the Executive War Board in charge of the Allied (though non- 
existent; reserve, discussed amalgamation. Bliss sat on this Board^ 
with Rawlinson, Weygand, and Cadorna as colleagues. Even the 
Prime Ministers tried their hand. Lloyd George Clemenceau, 
convinced that Pershiog's was not the way to win the war, at- 
tempted persuasion upon his chief. They might have been more 
persuasive had they been in agreement upon a better way. 
Lloyd George was an "eastern/ thinking always of turning the 
German left wing in the Balkans or beyond; Clemenceau ? a * west- 
ern/ saw victor}" to be reached somewhere along the direct route 
between Paris and Berlin. Jusserand and Reading (who replaced 
Spring Rice as ambassador in February) exerted pressure for 
their masters In Washington. The bargains reached in France 
sometimes received an unanticipated construction at the White 
House, and the conversations in Washington sometimes led hope- 
ful ambassadors to believe that the President would overrule his 
commander in the field. Pershing found that in addition to the 
burden of preparing for his army he must take continuous part in a 
diplomatic fight to retain command of it. 

He was saved, in part, by a determination in Washington to 
back him up. He was helped, from time to time, by jealousies 
between England and France, which led each of them in turn to 
assist him a little in evading the encroachments of the other. He 
was ready, in a pinch, to fight back. Early in January he cut 
across 'military channels' to rebuke Clemenceau for trying to settle 
with Washington by cable matters that could be settled only by 
conference among the generals in the field. Clemenceau^ ad- 
monished, avowed himself ready to 'exercise all the patience 3 of 
which lie was capable which was not too much but insisted 
that upon the settlement of the matter might depend the outcome 
of the war. 

By the time the Supreme War Council held its third session, at 


the of January Pershing was certain that there would not be 
any Allied offensive until his men were In France. He 

to his position against amalgamation, noting that his 
colleagues, Haig and Petain, made their own bargain and main- 
It against the directives from the Supreme War Council. 
He had brought Bliss Into full support of his position before the 
Council met. Since Bliss, still Chief of Staff, was technically his 
superior officer, this was vital; but It was not difficult, for Bliss had 
no delusion of greatness to make him think his four stars were 
superior to those of Pershing. The most that Pershing would 
promise was that if divisions should be brought over as a whole 
(rather than only the infantrymen and machine gunners whom 
the Allies craved;,, the regiments of Infantry might receive pre- 
liminary training with the British while the artillery received 
training with the French; all of this conditioned upon the delivery 
to him of divisions as units after training. He was willing to let the 
troops take their chance with combat forced upon them while 
engaged In such training, but he refused to let them be counted as 
parts of the armies of either of the Allies. 

In the face of Pershing's opposition to anything looking like 
amalgamation, the Supreme War Council had no option but to 
arrange matters as best It could with what It had. The American 
army was, after all, only a when-if-or-as reinforcement; not a 
certainty. Haig and Petain, each in his own way, were as recalci- 
trant as the American commander. The recommendation of the 
Permanent Military Representatives was approved In principle, 
but was modified by the Allied commanders Into a moderate ex- 
tension by Haig of the lines he held, and a mutual agreement that 
each should come if needed to the aid of the other. The vision of 
an Executive War Board under a French chairman looked so 
much like a first step to a generalissimo that the 'black coats' of the 
Supreme War Council felt impelled to issue public denials that a 
generaEsslmo had been created. 

In the British army, which had not been able to bring about 
effective amalgamation with its own colonial troops and yet 
desired to amalgamate the A.E.F., feeling ran high against any 


inter-Allied arrangement that might le^eri the discretion of the 
field commander, or that of the Chief of the Imperial General 
Staff. In a fortnight Robertson was out of office over the of 

the Executive War Board and Sir Henry Wilson was In Ms place. 
In the middle of M arch the Supreme War Council met again, in 
London, to face the fact that neither of the existing armies would 
contribute Its quota of divisions to the reserve. There was a real 
question whether the scheme of pooling the interests at Versailles 
had not broken down. So far as It depended upon the functioning 
of the Executive War Board, it had collapsed. The Board lasted, 
even In name, only until midsummer. 

This fourth session for which Clemenceau came with bad grace 
to London,, began as the Supreme War Council and ended as a 
political conference of the Allies. Foch, as French Chief of Staff, 
came with Ms Premier^ and with Weygand, Ms ego y as Per- 
manent Military Representative. The new British Chief of Staff, 
Wilson, was In harmony with Rawlinson who had taken Ms place 
as Permanent Military Representative. Bliss was there, an "un- 
swerving advocate of the army of maneuver under Foch/ as Lloyd 
George has described Mm; and hoping In vain that the Executive 
War Board might somehow come back to life and to the command 
of a real reserve. 

The United States, absent from the political conference of the 
Premiers, had no political spokesman In Europe,, and wanted 
none. Wilson, his own agent, had addressed Congress again on 
February n, reiterating Ms aims In the war and summing up the 
comments that had reached Mm since Ms Fourteen Points address. 
The definitive peace between Germany and Russia, under dicta- 
tion at Brest-Iitovsk since December, was signed in March a few 
days before the Prime Ministers came together, and only awaited 
ratification by the Bolshevik revolutionists. Pressure was already 
upon the United States to provide troops for a venture at Vladivos- 
tok in an Allied effort to lessen the consequence of the with- 
drawal of Russia from the war. On March 11, as though he sus- 
pected the intention of the Allies, Wilson again stepped out alone, 
sending to the Russian congress which was about to meet a message 


of Interest in the unimpaired sovereignty of Russia. Without his 
presence or approval the Allied statesmen In London proceeded to 
denounce the German deception of Russia and to prepare their 
Intervention In eastern Siberia In support of a Russian minority 
against the Soviets. 

Pershing had an opportunity to freshen his contacts with the 
War Department during the week In which the Premiers met In 
London. Secretary Baker was at hand. Wrestling with the con- 
gressional attempt to take the management of the war out of the 
hands of the President, Baker had kept on with his own revamping 
of the war machine. With Crowell, Goethals, and Stettinius 
attached to It and finding their level, and with the President on 
the verge of assigning to Bamch the management of the War In- 
dustries Board 5 and with March on his way home to take In hand 
the General Staff, some of the business on his desk began to thin 
out. He had found time, during the worst of the fight over a muni- 
tions ministry, to approve a new scheme of organization from the 
General Staff, which was published to the Army in General Order 
14, February 9. In this the advisory functions of the General 
Staff were more clearly defined than before and the work was dis- 
sected topically in the Interest of speed and accuracy. The war did 
not last long enough for the General Staff to be detached entirely 
from the jobs In administration that were foreign to Its theory, or 
to be set free for the exercise of exclusively advisory functions. 
But the progressive reorganizations worked in that direction. As 
now redefined, the Chief of Staff, military adviser of the Secretary 
of War, was to work through five principal aides, each an Assistant 
Chief of Staff. These aides were charged respectively with ad- 
ministration, war plans, purchase and supply, storage and traffic, 
and operations. The assistants were to deal directly with the line 
units In the Army and with the various staff services, and out of 
what they thus learned they were to inform the Chief of Staff so 
that he might give sound advice to the Secretary. In practice the 
resulting orders commonly began: s The Secretary of War directs 
. . .*; but whether or not a given order was important enough for 
the Secretary to have seen it, he took the responsibility for what 


Ms military counsel him say. The work was beginning to 

run through the new grooves when March reported for duty. He 
modified the procedure In detail during the next few months, but 
his military contribution was more In the field of dynamics in 
of mechanics. 

With his reorganization started and with his dramatic appear- 
ances before the Senate Committee a matter of record. Baker 
slipped out of Washington to inspect the A.E.F. On March 10 
he was reported in Paris; and here he began to take account of 
stock, with Bliss to write an attractive picture of their conference 
In a cellar under the hotel during a night air raid. When Bliss went 
off to London for the meeting of the fourteenth s Baker went on 
tour, leaving with the military authorities of France what comfort 
they could get out of his statement that his trip was that he might 
the better know how to support the commander of the A.E.F. 

PersMng had much to show him; not much in the way of divi- 
sions ready for the field, but much already accomplished In pre- 
paring for the army when It should arrive. He had., In France^ 
been doing work closely resembling that which Baker had left In 
Washington. His most recent job had been the erection at Tours 
of a new headquarters, bearing to his army something of the 
relation held In the United States by the War Department to the 
whole military establishment. 

No more In France than In Washington did American officers, 
laboring for their first time over the vast problems of mobilization, 
supply, training, direction, and fighting, manage to settle to their 
satisfaction the relations between part and part that are most 
likely to help to win a war. Probably these are Incapable of settle- 
ment and must depend In the last analysis upon the particular war 
and the personalities in charge of it. The first great question of the 
relationship between the political heads of a nation and its fighting 
force was settled basically in Washington. The second, that of the 
relationship between the commander and Ms subordinates^ was 
worked out in the field. There can be little doubt that the com- 
mander should keep Ms desk free from detail In order to have time 
to survey the broad lines of his mission. There is as little doubt 


each of his chief subordinates, being human, craves to hang 
directly on the word of the commander,, without the Intermediary' 
or the meddling of the officials whose business is to free the 
commander from detail. The black braid on the cuff of the officer 
on the General Staff had not made that officer popular In the 
United States; It kept Mm unpopular in France. Many of the 
officers who were Invaluable cogs In Pershing's machine were as 
much aggrieved by the Inability of his personal staff to comprehend 
their needs as he was aggrieved by the Inability of Washington to 
understand his requirements. 

\\Tiile the A.E.F. continued to be no more than a dream, for 
whose realization the headquarters group was busy drafting plans, 
It remained possible for the direction of the American venture to 
remain at Chaumont The time had to come \vhen the Inevitable 
cleavage between those who directed the battle, those who fought 
it, those who brought up to the line the men and their supplies 
would call for a decentralization of functions and control; all, 
however, remaining under the hand of the commander. When 
Pershing moved his G.H.Q. to Chaumont in September, he left 
behind him in Paris the subordinate headquarters of what was 
then called the Line of Communications. This needed every day 
to work In most intimate contact with the French authorities 
through whose towns and across whose country the lines would 
run. But Paris was no place for the Line of Communications after 
its plans were made and its blueprints drawn when It became con- 
cerned with construction first and operation next. And Chau- 
mont was no place for It; for Chaumont must concern Itself with 
combat, while the work of the Line of Communications w r as com- 
pleted far In the rear when it delivered to the agents of the field 
commanders their men and tools. 

During January, the American papers, naming no names ac- 
cording to their practice under the voluntary censorship, began to 
hint at the probability of a shift of the headquarters of the Line of 
Communications to a 'beautiful little city In central France. 5 
Keman 3 commanding the L.O.C., recommended this; a Chau- 
mont board approved it; and In February the orders bringing it 


about were Issued. Tours was the city. Situated on the Loire^ 
with ,g;ood railway connections to Paris, to St. Xazaire through 
which supplies were coming, and to the training behind the 

Toui sector. It was convenient. Being relatively empty of French 
administration, it gave room for growth. In a most attractive part 
of France, its environment gave to the officers detailed to work in 
Tours what compensation they could get to make up for absence 
from the front. Even Harbord 5 who later came to command it, 
felt that the physical separation from Ghaumont deprived him of 
the direct contact with Pershing that he needed; but Harbord's 
argument against the possibility of keeping everything at Chau- 
mont is conclusive against even his own dissatisfaction. The order 
directing the shift from Paris provided a new name for the Line of 
Communications^ which now became the Services of the Rear, 
Before long this was amended to Services of Supply. 

What could be decided at Tours was decided there. Pershing's 
general oversight was maintained by direct contact between the 
several divisions of the Tours staff and the similar divisions at 
Chaumont. The sections of the staff at Chaumont received a new 
nomenclature resembling that of the French Army, without 
greatly changing the functions distributed by Baker in the Ameri- 
can reorganization of February 9. The five c Gs 5 made their ap- 
pearance; and military lingo used C G-1 5 or s G-5' with complete 
understanding of what was meant. The principal duties of the 
Eve Assistant Chiefs of Staff, thus designated, and their counter- 
parts at Tours, and in armies, corps 3 and divisions as far down as 
the system extended, comprised all the great functions of the Army. 
G-i was administration; G-2, military intelligence; G-3, opera- 
tions; G-4, co-ordination and supply; G-5> training. The railroad 
men and those in charge of army utilities were never satisfied; and 
Atterbury, ever a railroad man in spite of being a general, believed 
that the Services of Supply ought to have been a civilian organiza- 
tion, dependent directly on the commander. There were some in 
Washington who thought that they might better have been directly 
dependent on the War Department. But, for better or worse 3 
Pershing had organized the American effort Ms own way, and 


his scheme of things to show when Baker undertook to see 
with his own eyes what had been done and what remained to be 
done. The army was taking shape before Its men arrived. It had 
even its "house organ. 5 The first number of the Slars and Stripes^ 
edited In the army by its men for their morale, made its appearance 
February 8. 

saw It all: from the stacks of piles waiting to be driven at 
the ports to the staff offices at Chaumont and to the front-line 
trenches . Sometimes he had Pershing for a guide, but he hardly 
one, and with his lack of swank left many to wonder who 
the inquisitive little man could be. Always he had words with 
in immediate command and with their men. Often he had 
to pause and speak to groups; and when he did this even Frederick 
Palmer, more or less his custodian and entirely case-hardened to 
official eloquence, was stirred to listen. The culmination of his 
tour brought him to the headquarters of Petain, for luncheon at 
Chantilly, on Thursday, March 21. The program for that after- 
noon was to have been the Somme battlefield, which Palmer knew; 
but the program was modified, for the battlefield was again occu- 
pied by battle. That morning a desperate German blow, planned 
to end the w r ar before the Americans arrived in force, broke upon 
the British Fifth Army which held the new extension of the line of 
Haig. Amiens was the objective of the drive, and the splitting of 
the Allies at their point of junction its immediate purpose. The 
Valley of the Somme provided the route of the advance. The first 
stroke drove Allied troops from their trenches along some fifty 
miles of front, with the spearhead advancing a little to the north 
of St. Quentin. During the next week Baker carried his tour to 
London, while the daily war maps showed the growth of the new 
German salient, with its base widening and its tip reaching almost 
to Amiens, through which ran the sole dependable line of com- 
munications between the French armies in front of Paris and the 
British forces in Flanders. On Sunday, the fourth day of the drive, 
Petain let Haig know that he need not hope for immediate rein- 
forcement if their line should break; that in such case it would be 
the duty of the French to cover Paris, leaving the British to shift 
for themselves between the German divisions and the Channel. 


If the war had ended now, and for several days it had a fair 
chance of being ended, the historical post mortem would have 
attributed German victory to the inability of the Allies to subject 
themselves to disciplines other than their several own. The 
scheme for an Allied reserve, directed as a unit by the Executive 
War Board, had broken down. Perhaps there could not have been 
a reserve, since each of the principal Allies was a little beyond the 
crest of its man-power. Certainly there was none that could fill 
the breach at the left of the British Fifth Army. The agreement 
for mutual help, between Haig and Petain, left each general the 
judge of the time and manner of the help, and in the crisis of the 
German drive neither felt warranted in endangering the national 
purpose represented by his army for the sake of the safety of the 
other. This could hardly have been otherwise so long as France 
and Britain were fighting separate wars. The American pressure 
for concentration of the command, so that there might be a single 
war, was interesting as evidence of American belief, but in the 
absence of an American army there was no military contribution 
of importance for Pershing to have made, even had there been a 
generalissimo. And the absence of an American army was due to 
the lack of ships in which to transport it, with Britain pardonably 
reluctant to invest ships in an unwise, or what it believed to be 
unwise, American adventure. 

Six months later, had Germany won the war, with Pershing 
commanding his 'separate component,' the post mortem might have 
been justified in placing the onus all on him and his personal am- 
bition to command an army. But in March, 1918, a collapse of 
the Allies, with their resources and man-power still far ahead of 
those of Germany, would have been fairly attributable to defective 

The Allies did not lose. The British Fifth Army, weary when it 
received the blow, and perhaps not adequately supported during 
its engagement, fell back before the German thrust. It lost contact 
with the neighbor British army on its left, until there was a gap 
with nothing in front of the enemy but the road to Amiens. The 
French neighbor on its right was slow to appreciate the full 


urgency of the call for reinforcement. In the end, Haig healed his 
own breach, and the advance of the apex of the German salient 
slowed down. It slowed down as much because all salients tend to 
bring themselves to a standstill as because the barrier of resistance 
was too tough to be overcome. One of the German officers plan- 
ning the drive had warned his superiors that 

in a successful offensive, the attacker will be forced to cross 
a difficult and shot-to-pieces battle area and will get gradually 
farther away from his railheads and depots, and that, having 
to bring forward his masses of artillery and ammunition columns, 
he will be compelled to make pauses which will give time to 
the defender to organize resistance. 

The preparations for the drive, noted by the intelligence officers of 
the Allies, had produced suspicious warning movements along 
one hundred miles of German front, most of the way from Armen- 
tieres to Reims. The German divisions themselves, making their 
adjustments, had not been allowed to know just where they would 
begin. The concentration had displaced the Allies, beginning with 
a thirty-mile front and widening to fifty; the penetration as the 
salient was advanced ran beyond thirty miles, far enough to have 
reached Amiens had not Haig managed to deflect the apex a little 
to the south, where it came to rest. Montdidier, in front of the 
French armies, and only some forty miles from Paris, was in 
German hands when the line of the new salient was stabilized. 
At the week-end, the drive having begun on Thursday, the 
crumpling of the Allied line attracted attention in London even 
before Haig was stirred by great fear, and before Petain warned 
him that he must close the gap or lose connection. If Lloyd George 
or Henry Wilson had trusted Haig more, they might have watched 
him less closely, or had less disappointment at his unwillingness to 
find divisions for the proposed reserve. On Saturday, after a meet- 
ing of the British War Cabinet, the Prime Minister asked Milner to 
go to France, and was ready to accept a French commander as 
less disastrous than defeat. On Sunday, Haig came to the same 
decision. Making desperate effort to back up the Fifth Army and 
restore the line, and warned by Petain, Haig summoned Wilson 


and Milner, who was already on his way, to come to France to 
negotiate a better team-work which might mean a unified direction 
of the war. The historians will long debate the responsibility for 
the near-victory of Germany whether it was an undue extension 
of the British front, or the incapacity of Gough with his Fifth 
Army, or the default of Petain upon his promise to send aid if 
needed, or the general unimaginativeness of Haig, or sabotage by 
Lloyd George because of his interest in 'eastern 5 adventures. 
But there is already agreement that the nearness of defeat broke 
down resistance to the theory of the war that President Wilson had 
endorsed when he said of the Supreme War Council: c we ... in- 
sist on it. 5 On Monday, with the fate of Amiens still uncertain, the 
generals and the politicians scurried from conference to confer- 
ence; on Tuesday, March 26, they came together for action at the 
town hall of Doullens-en-Picardie. 

Pershing stayed on his job, for he was not involved in the battle 
except in so far as a handful of engineers, caught by the advance, 
exchanged picks and spades for weapons, turned themselves into 
scratch troops, and helped resist it. Poincare, President of the 
Republic, presided at Doullens, back of the British front, and 
some eighteen miles north of Amiens. Clemenceau was there, 
bringing with him Ferdinand Foch, whom he had boosted to 
opportunity ten years before. In an earlier Cabinet, Clemenceau, 
free-thinker and radical, had elevated Foch, conservative and 
conscientious Catholic, to his brigadier-generalcy and the post of 
director of the ficole Superieure de la Guerre. Already Foch's 
Principes de la Guerre (1903) and De la Conduite de la Guerre (1905) 
were the textbooks of the officers of France. Foch represented the 
theory of the war which had prevailed in France since the elevation 
of Petain to the command of the Army in the spring of 1917 and 
his own resultant advancement to Petain' s post as Chief of Staff. 
Peter Wright, a member of the English staff at the Supreme War 
Council, thought he looked 'like a rustic French cure/ At Doul- 
lens, also, were Milner, and Haig, and Sir Henry Wilson. As the 
result of their out-of-conference discussions, Milner ass ;nted for 
England to the elevation of Foch to more than had been intended 


for him when the chairmanship of the Executive War Board was 
in hand. He was charged with 'co-ordinating the action of the 
Allied Armies on the Western Front.' 

Foch left the conference still five months from his baton as 
marshal of France; he was still far less than commander in chief; 
his mission to co-ordinate the action of the commanders was less 
than sufficient to get the co-ordination carried out; and he had no 
reserve at his disposal. But resistance had been broken down at 
the very edge of defeat, and unity was in sight. 

Insufficient as was the authority conferred on Foch on March 
26, there was only one course indicated for the United States; 
this was approval and compliance. From Washington on the 
twenty-ninth Wilson cabled his congratulations to the new co- 
ordinator; and the press, when it received and carried the story, 
magnified co-ordinator into commander. It assumed, not knowing 
otherwise, that an extensive reserve was already in existence and 
would come at once within the jurisdiction of the new Allied chief. 

Compliance came from Chaumont, too. The authority of 
Pershing to dispose of the troops under his command was such that 
even without the word of the President he was competent to act. 
On that Monday, when others were working out the agreement for 
the twenty-sixth, he drove to the field headquarters of Petain at 
Compiegne, to offer the French commander the use of the divisions 
that could be sent into the line. These were the First and Twenty- 
Sixth, quite ready; the Second and Forty-Second, nearly enough 
ready. Behind these the Thirty-Second was due to be ready by 
the first of May. The plans of Petain did not admit of their use in 
the active line at once. 

On Thursday, the twenty-eighth, Pershing drove off again. 
The Doullens agreement was now in effect. This time he paid his 
respects to the co-ordinator at his headquarters at Clermont-sur- 
Oise. He took Foch out of conference with Clemenceau and Pe- 
tain, and in private repeated his gesture of temporary surrender: 
c At this moment there are no other questions but of fighting.' 
The brief French sentences which he spoke, touched up for publi- 
cation, stressed the honor of taking part c in the greatest battle of 


history/ and placed his whole establishment 'all that we have is 

yours 5 at the disposal of Foch. It was promised that the First 

Division should go shortly to the front* The front could now be 
talked of. It was no longer a withdrawal to the rear, but had been 
frozen facing Montdidier. Before April was over the trains and 
camions brought the First Division into the line, opposite Cantigny. 

There were many fingers in the pot in these days of acute crisis,, 
including those of Secretary Baker and of the British War Cabinet, 
with whom Baker was in conference. Lord Reading had already 
been directed to advise President Wilson of the importance of the 
battle, to urge him 'to drop all questions of interpretations of past 
agreements/ and to appeal to him to send over infantry c as fast 
as possible. 5 Pershing was already in agreement with Lloyd George 
that the battalions of the twenty-four-division program, if brought 
over by the British, should for the time be trained and used by 
them. Baker, on Monday, restated the matter to Pershing and fol- 
lowed his telegram in person. He relayed the British desire that 
divisions in France be given to the French, that engineers of the 
Line of Communications be lent to the British, and that infantry, 
to the exclusion of other types of troops, be forwarded from the 
United States. The American leaders were in personal conference 
in Paris on the twenty-sixth, they conferred with Pershing before 
the latter visited Foch on the twenty-eighth, and on the same day 
they considered the words and implication of a joint note to which 
the Permanent Military Representatives were driven in their 
desire to play a part. The promotion of Foch, who preferred to 
work with a French staff around him, was already raising some 
question of the future of the four secretariats assembled by the 
Supreme War Council in the Hotel de Trianon at Versailles. 

The joint note No. 18, destined to arouse considerable contro- 
versy as to its formulation and meaning, was agreed to on the 
twenty-eighth, after Pershing had withdrawn from its discussion. 
It had to be an expression of the unanimous agreement of the 
Permanent Military Representatives in order to become a "joint 
note'; and Bliss assented to it. It recited the crisis, recommended 
the 'temporary service' of American units (other than the divisions) 


in the Allied armies, and urged that 'until otherwise directed by 
the Supreme War Council, only American infantry and machine- 
gun units ... be brought to France.' Bliss thought it embodied 
the idea of Pershing; Pershing thought it implied a retreat from 
his position that a separate army was the American objective. 
Jusserand and Reading, in Washington, thought the Allies had 
won out over Pershing, and in this conviction they explained the 
note at the White House, where they called on April i. The 
President did not seem to have seen in the joint note any departure 
from Pershing 5 s desire, agreed that 120,000 men should sail per 
month (roughly half on English ships), and sent Reading to March 
to work out details. He cabled to Baker, approving the joint note 
with the reservations Baker and Pershing had made in transmitting 
it, without taking specific note of the fact that in these reservations 
they had been willing to concede the change in plan of shipment 
'only in view of the present critical situation. 3 They had empha- 
sized the temporary character of the new plan, and had kept in 
mind c the determination' as speedily as possible to have an 
independent American army.' 

March, when Reading was sent to him for immediate action, 
had his own difference in interpretation, for he regarded 'men' 
as meaning troops of any kind, whereas Reading thought of 'men 5 
as infantry. The differences in interpretation were never quite 
ironed out. But the essential of the matter was that, in the crisis, 
Britain found ships whose existence it had hitherto denied; the 
Embarkation Service used them, so far as troops were concerned; 
the Shipping Control Committee filled up the cargo ships and 
hurried their turn-around; the Allied Maritime Transport Coun- 
cil, set up after the November conference, dug tonnage out of its 
hiding-places; and all foreign trade of the United States was 
operated under licenses of the War Trade Board. The corner 
was turned, which must somehow have been turned before 
Pershing, or anyone else, could ever have had an American army. 
Before Baker was back at his desk in Washington on April 16 the 
accelerated flow was under way. 

At each of the three corners of the negotiation, Washington, 


London, and Paris, there was some confusion as to the meaning 
of joint note No. 18, and the President's assent to it. But Pershing 
had no confusion in his own mind, whatever misgiving or irritation 
he felt. He agreed that the situation might force some of his 
infantry units to serve temporarily with the British, but he in- 
sisted that they must not be treated as replacements; and no 
orders were issued depriving him of authority over his troops. He 
suggested to the President that England was trying to get American 
troops so as to avoid sending to France its own men who were held 
in England to defend the island against invasion from across the 
Channel. He clung to his divisions and his army corps, and to a 
policy of keeping his artillery ready to be assembled with the 
detached infantry in complete divisions 'when called for.' And on 
April 3 he went at call of Clemenceau to meet in Beauvais with 
much the same body that had reached the critical decision at 
Doullens on March 26. 

Lloyd George came this time, as well as Clemenceau; and the 
meeting might easily have been listed as a session of the Supreme 
War Council, although it partook in fact more of the character of 
an inter- Ally conference. It was here that Pershing learned of 
what Reading thought Woodrow Wilson had agreed to on April 
i, learning it when Lloyd George informed him that the President 
had assented to the shipment of 120,000 infantrymen and machine 
gunners monthly, beginning in April. 

Here at Beauvais Clemenceau raised the question of a redefini- 
tion of the powers of Foch. Baker had advised the President that 
Pershing would accept under Foch any position that Haig and 
Petain would accept. Foch pointed out that the Doullens agree- 
ment had defined his duties as 'co-ordination of action 9 ; that the 
action was now over, since the drive had stopped, and that he 
was left with nothing to co-ordinate. Lloyd George agreed that 
the powers vested at Doullens did not c go far enough. 3 Bliss and 
Pershing spoke out in favor of a supreme commander, believing 
that 'the success of the Allied cause depends upon it.* They 
agreed to a resolution vesting in Foch c the strategic direction of 
military operations of the Allied Armies on the Western Front'; 


but Lloyd George and Glemenceau would have left out of the 
resolution any reference to an American army had Pershing not 
insisted on its inclusion. He conceded that there was no army yet, 
but demanded that e this resolution apply to it when it becomes a 
fact. 5 

The conferees left Beauvais with the position of Pershing em- 
phasized to the point of irritation. His determination was un- 
shaken and his backing unweakened, but his achievement of a 
'distinct and separate component* was still in the lap of the gods. 
Yet the conferees did not leave until a unified command had been 
attained. The Beauvais agreement permitted the several army 
commanders to exercise c the tactical direction of their armies' 
under Foch's strategic hand; it gave to each commander a right 
to appeal to his Government if by this strategic direction 'in his 
opinion his army is placed in danger. 5 By April 17 the President 
had confirmed Pershing's approval of a French request that with 
the strategic direction should go to Foch the title of Commander 
in Chief of the Allied Armies. The title did not as yet extend over 
the Italian Front, or over that of the Belgian army, of which the 
King of the Belgians remained in personal command. 


JL HE Secretary of War returned to the War Department on April 
16, the day before the night on which the First Division moved 
into position opposite Cantigny on the Montdidier front. For it, 
and for the A.E.F., as well as for the Secretary, the war at this 
moment passed into its final phase. It became for the United 
States a matter of combat. 

The veil of secrecy which had thus far kept citizens at home 
from knowing what was going on in France continued to obstruct 
vision from either end of the effort, and it was still not discreet 
to tell too much. The casualty lists, beginning now to come to 
hand, revealed the fact of operations. They were small lists at 
first, but they were more than lists of accidental casualty, and they 
were of imperative interest to the folks at home. Yet the news- 
papers kept pretty well to their pledge of voluntary repression of 
news that might aid the enemy., while the War Department sought 
to find a way to give the prompt notice that a death demanded 
without at the same time publishing data from which the intelli- 
gence officers of the enemy could compile lists of American units 
in action and their places along the front. Much of what the 
newshawks would have liked to print, they knew, but much of 
what they would have liked to know was kept from them. The 
new Chief of Staff, who was now very much at work, as well as 
Baker who now joined him, believed that this secrecy could be 
overdone. They were annoyed at the way in which officers, 
returning to the United States from observation trips in France, 
leaked* indiscreetly, telling what they ought to have forgotten, 
or, worse, what they did not know; but now that fighting was to 
become the order of the day they knew that the news of fighting 


had to be revealed. March had already begun to loosen up with 
congressmen, holding weekly meetings with the military com- 
mittees at which the veil of secrecy became progressively thinner. 

For the remaining months of the war the history of American 
democracy became the history of war. The supply and operation 
of the Army took precedence over all else, and all else was judged 
less on its own merits than on its relation to the military effort. 
Policies had been formulated during the first six months, by a 
people not yet aware how completely absorbing war would be. 
Agencies had been constructed during the second half-year, with 
a people as Impatient for results as those had been who sent 
McDowell to Bull Run in 1861. Operations dominated now, 
with no McGlellan to hold things back while he waited for abso- 
lute perfection. 

Peyton C. March put the War Department on a twenty-four- 
hour day and a seven-day week. Bliss had described him as a 
'man of positive and decided character, 3 and he lived up to the 
description. He had taken office saying: *I know no gentle 
method of conducting a war of this magnitude' ; and he was as 
rough with himself as congressmen and subordinates complained 
that he was rough with them. One of the congressmen, bitter 
because of the removal of a favorite major-general from command 
of his division, relieved himself by calling March the 'high priest 
of Prussianism' without realizing how much of praise his epithet 
contained. Even Baker, who did not often try to override, could 
not break down his Chief of Staff's determination that the man- 
agement of the war should continue to be a military task rather 
than one distorted by politicians. As the last six months moved 
on, the regimentation of the American people behind their com- 
mon purpose permitted the novel instruments of their purpose to 
function at increasing speed. The accepted slogan was c work 
or fight.' 

It was the Provost-Marshal-General who lifted these words to 
prominence by rulings made in connection with the second regis- 
tration under the Selective Service Act. JJnder that act, on June 
5, 1917, there had been a peaceful and willing enrollment of 


9,586,508 young men. From this list the first draft had been taken 
by lot. Before those who had been drawn had all been sent to 
camp, there had come to light a good deal of waste motion be- 
cause of preliminary work done on men who were finally left in 
'deferred, classification/ on such grounds as nature of employment 
or personal dependents. In November it was decided to classify 
by questionnaire the men who had not been drawn and probably 
would be left at home, Hugh S. Johnson, still working with 
Crowder, drafted the new rules, making as nearly automatic as 
possible the selection of the Class I men, those who were young 
and without dependents and who constituted the normal reservoir 
of man-power. After December 15 the new questionnaire classi- 
fication was in operation; but immediately after June 5 the man- 
power reservoir had begun to be recruited from younger men, as 
each of these passed his twenty-first birthday. It was guessed that 
these would number three-quarters of a million, almost all Class I, 
before the first year after registration had elapsed. In May, 1918, 
Congress directed that the names of these be added to the list. 
The anniversary of the first registration was proclaimed by the 
President for the second. In July, when the new questionnaires 
had been counted, the Official Bulletin reported that 744,865 new 
names had been made available for selection. 

The new names, arranged again by lottery, went to the bottom 
of the existing lists of which the several draft boards were custodian. 
In issuing rules to govern the draft boards as they certified numbers 
upon call of the Department, Crowder declared: c We shall give 
the idlers and the men not effectively employed the choice be- 
tween military service and effective employment. Every man 
in the draft age, at least, must work or fight.' He classed as idlers 
such as had no job, or made their living by gambling, clairvoy- 
ance, bucket shops, or race tracks. The 'non-useful 5 callings, 
carefully classified, were such as those of waiters, passenger ele- 
vator operators, footmen, ushers, domestic servants, and clerks. 
He opened, by indirection, a new range of occupations for women, 
and helped construct the new social classification that prevailed 
even after the men came back from war. Men not at work, or 


non-usefully at work, were to be listed immediately in Class I, 
instead of receiving the deferred classification to which their age 
or domestic responsibilities might otherwise have entitled them. 
And the Secretary of War, in July, pointed up the ruling by hold- 
ing professional baseball players to be non-useful. Before any 
considerable number of Americans had seen the enemy, the War 
Department was carrying on in the expectation that the war 
might be prolonged through 1919 into 1920, that the A.E.F. 
might at the end be leading the fighting, and that all legal limits 
would be set aside as Congress brought the whole available man- 
power into the Army. 

Between the critical days when the Allies gave Foch his com- 
mission and the day of the second registration, the war machine 
caught its stride. Crowell and Stettinius had fitted into the War 
Department. March, who was only acting Chief of Staff at the 
beginning, put on his four stars when Congress legalized the 
rank of General for the Permanent Military Representative at 
Versailles, thus enabling Bliss to be relieved as Chief of Staff and 
yet retain his stars in France. The Secretary's appeal for office 
aid through the authorization of two additional assistant secre- 
taries was granted. Crowell was already first assistant and had 
presided over the Department while Baker was away. Stettinius 
became the second, in April. Keppel, the third, was specially 
entrusted with the relations of the Army to the civilian auxiliaries. 
On the day that Baker reappeared, Goethals was given his final 
position in the hierarchy. 

Since December, 1917, Major-General George W. Goethals 
had been seeking a way out of the disorganization among the 
procurement bureaus of the War Department and the sections 
of the General Staff. The old battle between the heads of the 
permanent bureaus and the General Staff was not yet over, and 
at the time of Goethals' appointment as acting Quartermaster- 
General it was not yet certain which side would win. Knowing 
Goethals, it was easy to prophesy that the case of the side with 
which he was connected would be advanced, regardless of wounded 
feelings. He was now on both sides, being a bureau chief and at 


the same time his own principal superior in his capacity as head 
of a General Staff section on Storage and Traffic. The fight was 
adjusted for the time by merging bureau management with the 
General Staff, whose theoretical function was only to advise 
concerning management. 

The decision to bring March back to Washington was a victory 
for the staff theory. Goethals annexed the Embarkation Service, 
at the immediate head of which Frank T. Hines functioned with 
distinction. He controlled the warehouses at the ports of embarka- 
tion and saw that smooth management called also for control 
of the Inland Traffic Service, for which in January he found a 
place on the organization chart under his direction. The coalless 
days in January at least made it possible to relieve some of the 
congestion at the ports. Thereafter Goethals 3 establishment fed 
cargoes into the ports while P. A. S. Franklin's Shipping Control 
Committee moved the ships In which they went to France. 
Storage and Traffic had chiefly to do with the supply side of the 
business of the Quartermaster-General The procurement side, 
as indispensable as one blade of a pair of shears is to the other, 
was also normal business for the Quartermaster-General, except 
as munitions procurement had been specialized out to be the 
concern of the Chief of Ordnance. The functions, in orderly 
sequence, were those of purchase, inland traffic, storage, and 
embarkation. All of these, on April 16, were ordered into the 
hands of Goethals, now an assistant Chief of Staff and head of a 
Purchase, Storage, and Traffic Division of the General Staff. 
P. S. & T., as his division came to be called in the language of 
Washington, thereafter had control of what was needed, once 
quartermaster material came into the hands of the War Depart- 
ment. Its scope grew relentlessly under its driving head, swallow- 
ing up other separate agencies with each new revision of the 
organization chart, and functioning better every month. It took 
over much of the work to which the committees of the Council of 
National Defense had originally devoted themselves, while the 
organization of American industrial life so that it might the better 
produce goods for the War Department to use, also an original 


function of the C.N.D., was concentrated in hands as capable in 
their way as those of Goethals. Bernard M. Baruch was given 
custody of the War Industries Board on the day that March re- 
ported for duty at the head of the General Staff. 

Lack of effective team-work between civilian production and 
Army use of American resources was never as complete as its 
critics made it out to be, although it was real enough to justify 
much of the worry when in December and January the war 
machine appeared to have frozen up and broken down. Frank A. 
Scott, destined for decades to continue to be an appreciated 
adviser of the War Department in procurement matters, cracked 
under his war labors. Retiring on October 17, his place as chair- 
man of the War Industries Board was taken by Daniel Willard, 
who had on his hands also the railroad activities of his private life 
and heavy duties as chairman of the Advisory Commission, 
C.N.D. Just before the announcement in January of Stettinius 
as Surveyor-General of Purchases, Willard surrendered the War 
Industries Board so that he might give more of his time to the 
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, now taken over by the Railroad 
Administration. He testified to the Senate Military Committee 
that the management of the civil end of procurement was a one- 
man job. The War Industries Board, however, did not receive a 
new chairman in his place until Woodrow Wilson decided that 
Willard's colleague on the Advisory Commission, Baruch, was 
likeliest of the men available. From January 16 to March 4 the 
Board had no head, and even then Baruch could not be given 
legal authority for action that Willard deemed necessary. Never- 
theless he found it possible to wield power in fact by a shrewd 
reliance upon patriotic desire, indirection in the use of minor 
powers, and an element of bluff. 

The Senate Committee on Military Affairs had been told by 
both Willard and Baruch, as it was told by the political critics 
of the Administration, that the handling of industry ought to 
be centered in a single office. From the Council of National 
Defense had come the statement that if the work was to be in- 
telligently done 'somehow we should have a system for clearing 


the needs of the Army and Navy, and for having the needs brought 
before the people, 5 The word superman was sometimes used as 
suggesting the kind of man required. Clarkson, with wisdom 
after the event, is not far wrong in writing that the chief needed 
to be able to look any man in the face and tell him to go to helL' 
Baruch could certainly do this, and he could keep his mind on a 
large objective without getting snagged in administrative detail 
or complexity of organization. 

The President accepted the theory of concentration in a letter 
to Baruch which constituted the charter and commission of the 
War Industries Board after March 4, 1918. He wrote, c the ulti- 
mate decision of all questions, except the determination of prices, 
should rest always with the chairman. 5 Upon this understanding, 
priority in its largest sense became the principal business of the 
Board. The Government was determined to procure the largest 
possible amount of material supplies for the support of the war 
program. The War Industries Board was to be kept informed as 
to the needs and hopes of the several 'purchasing agencies/ in- 
cluding those of the Allies. It was to encourage 'the studious con- 
servation of resources and facilities'; to create new facilities and 
open up new sources of supply; to convert existing facilities c to 
new uses'; and to advise the Government concerning the prices 
it should pay. The actual fixing of prices was the one matter 
kept out of the exclusive possession of the chairman. Power for 
this had by the Lever Act, August 10, 1917, been vested in the 
President, who now required the chairman of the War Industries 
Board 'in the determination of prices' to be governed c by the 
advice of a committee.' This Price-Fixing Committee began to 
operate under Robert S. Brookings ten days after the appointment 
of Baruch. It received its instructions directly from the White 
House and made its reports to the President. 

The Requirements Division, W.I.B., began to do business in 
April. A representative body, it included spokesmen for the 
several sections of the War Industries Board as well as agents of 
the buying departments of Army, Navy, Emergency Fleet, Rail- 
road Administration, Food, Fuel, Red Cross, and the Purchasing 


Commission for the Allies. Through these agents the war buyers 
were expected to keep the Requirements Division informed con- 
cerning not only their emergency needs and the requirements 
of their respective programs, but also their plans in formulation 
so far as these could be foreseen. It was the ideal that these needs 
should be balanced with the total capacity of American industry 
to produce. In practice the ideal was never reached; but out of 
the discussions in the Requirements Division came better know- 
ledge of the bottle-necks, a clearer view of what might safely be 
let alone, and some modification of extreme and overlapping 

In the scheme of things, as the Requirements Division came 
into action, the contracts laid before it for approval were rejected, 
modified, or cleared. When cleared they were passed to a Clear- 
ance Committee where they were registered in order, after which 
they were permitted to be fulfilled. In the process of passing 
them to clearance, the various subsidiary agencies of the War 
Industries Board were drawn upon according to the necessities 
of the case. 

The Commodity Sections, whose creation had been begun in 
some of the sub-committees of the Council of National Defense, 
were indispensable in nearly every negotiation. Where price 
was involved, the matter was referred to the Price-Fixing Com- 
mittee, which drew upon the technical knowledge of the Com- 
modity Sections and used the Federal Trade Commission in 
coming to its conclusion. The Commodity Sections, in their turn, 
did business with the War Service Committees, representing the 
various industries, and bringing to the attention of the Govern- 
ment the inside knowledge in the possession of the industries. 

Where priority was as important as approval, the Commodity 
Sections were again drawn upon to advise the Priorities Board. 
Under Judge Edwin B. Parker there were drawn into this Board 
the powers and much of the personnel that had been used in the 
earlier phases of the war. As now reconstituted the Priorities 
Board determined not only what needs must be met first when 
the supply was inadequate for all, but also what demands were 


non-essential to the conduct of the war. In the light of these 
decisions the Priorities Board advised the War Industries Board 
upon the treatment of requirements as submitted to it. There 
was law behind priority. The right of the Government to seize 
and operate manufacturing plants was broad enough to cover 
lesser interferences with their operation. The Railroad Adminis- 
tration was in a position to back up the Priorities Board by with- 
holding transportation. The Capital Issues Committee of the 
Federal Reserve Board might In its discretion withhold approval 
of demands for capital to finance private business. The law worked 
on priority somewhat by indirection, but it could be made to work. 
The Priority Board found great reluctance among the industries 
to be damned by the classification 'non-essential.' It managed 
to avoid that term yet reach the same result by adopting a dif- 
ferent technique in which its lists gave prominence to industries 
that were indispensable. By September the Priorities Board had 
reached a point at which it could implement the work-or-fight 
order of the Army by publishing a Preference List, classifying 
Industries, with munitions, food, fuel, ships, and railroads at the 
top. The service of these was not to be interrupted by demands 
contemplating a different use for labor, capital, fuel, or transpor- 
tation. The Preference List provided, also, a basis for 'industrial 
exemption 5 from the draft, and locked the war effort into a 
vigorous unit. 

In the course of determining how needs should be met, the 
War Industries Board did much to give comfort to both war In- 
dustry and less essential industry. It steered the war industries 
into channels whereby they reached access to new capital for the 
construction of new plants or the reconditioning of old ones. It 
advised owners of non-essential plants how they might convert 
their property so that it might become useful. Its Conservation 
Division, taking over the task of the older Commercial Economy 
Board, brought continuous pressure upon industry to economize, 
to manufacture fewer styles, to cut the yardage in men's clothes 
and women's dresses, to standardize such things as paving-bricks 
and bedsprings. It sought economies by lessening stocks carried 


on hand; persuading jobbers and retailers to reduce their in- 
ventories, and urging manufacturers to speed delivery of goods 
from the factory, so that local stocks might be kept low. Some 
of its short cuts, tried for the sake of war, provided guidance for 
peace industry when, after the war, the Department of Com- 
merce undertook to lessen the waste motion in business. 

The Government met business across the council tables of 
the Commodity Sections, which varied in size and importance and 
in competence. The administrative skeleton of the War Industries 
Board remained flexible to the last, with never an official organi- 
zation chart to freeze its processes to any pattern longer than 
Baruch believed the pattern to be productive. When the per- 
sonnel of the Board, demobilized upon the return to peace, came 
together again at the parties where Baruch entertained his as- 
sociates, the members could not always agree as to which of them 
had really won the war. They gossiped a little about the inef- 
ficiency shown in some corners. Yet they retained a high esprit 
as they looked back upon their share in the first real American 
experiment with a planned economy. Some of them remained 
flexible enough to help construct the next, when the lame-duck 
panic 5 made the United States, in 1933, willing to attempt the 
New Deal. 

Always behind the sections and the organization was Baruch 
himself, shuttling between the White House and the business 
conferences. He was there to advise and to devise, to be called 
into any meeting to sweep away difficulties, or to be as rough with 
business in the interest of the Government as business was when 
it faced the Government. March approved him and his methods, 
commenting in his memoirs that 'the stage of the dictators had 
been reached. 5 The Washington Post, often chary of praise, gave its 
editorial blessing: e The transformation of this country into a 
colossal war-making power, and the co-ordination of the manifold 
parts of this tremendous machine, have been accomplished with 
remarkable celerity and absence of friction. 5 

So far as the War Industries Board was anything more than 
the power of the President exercised through a structure of 


Baruch's co-ordination, it was still a creation of the Council of 
National Defense and dependent upon its creator. As soon as 
the Overman Act gave the President the right to reorganize the 
administrative structure of the Government, he broke this con- 
nection and by Executive Order converted the Wax Industries 
Board into an independent agency under himself. 

At many points in its work the War Industries Board was 
brought up against the problem of business which was expanding 
into war production at a time when the financial needs of the 
Government dominated the money market. Business had an im- 
perative need for more capital if it was to undertake to execute 
war contracts. The Liberty Loans, and the short-term Treasury 
Certificates preceding them, absorbed more than the capital 
available for investment. To a considerable extent they were 
raised by credit inflation at the banks as purchasers of bonds 
borrowed from the banks the money with which to pay for the 
bonds. The needs of local governments and business for credit 
could not be met. There was good reason for discouraging capital 
flotations in so far as these were nonessential, with the war always 
the measure of necessity. There was equally good reason for 
permitting necessary activities of both local government and 
business to be carried on. 

On the recommendation of McAdoo, the Federal Reserve 
Board, in January, created a Capital Issues Committee with 
branches in the reserve districts, to dissuade promoters of new 
loans from entering into competition with the Government for 
capital. They were also to approve necessary refunding operations 
and essential new issues. Working without power but with a 
strong public opinion behind them, these committees operated 
for three months before Congress took steps to back them up. 
A bill was drafted in the Treasury to make capital available to 
contractors who otherwise, unable to borrow, might have been 
unable to execute their contracts. The Senate and House debated 
simultaneous bills in March, worrying considerably over a new 
step in finance in which, through a Government-owned company, 
the War Finance Corporation, the Government was to borrow 


from the people In order to lend to business. A precedent for 
this was established, in the same month, when Congress made 
half a billion dollars available to the Railroad Administration to 
help finance the railroads. Another half-billion was now appro- 
priated, in an act signed April 5, to be the working capital of the 
War Finance Corporation, which body was authorized to borrow 
three billions more in income-tax-free bonds. It was not to lend 
directly to war contractors, but indirectly it was to aid them by 
loans to banks which had taken the responsibility of making loans 
to business. The Capital Issues Committee was given legal status 
by the War Finance Corporation Act and received power to 
scrutinize and pass upon new financing in amounts above one 
hundred thousand dollars. It checked non-essential demands by 
business on capital and restrained States and local government 
from continuance upon local non-war building programs. The 
school boards accepted it reluctantly, and wildcat promoters 
properly disliked it. Yet it helped to make definite the economic 
intent behind the slogan, work or fight. 

There were no accepted tables to guide either those who ad- 
vocated work or fight, or those who would have liked to oppose 
the principle. Before 1914 there had been no war in which the 
power of armies to destroy was as great as modern ordnance 
made it in the World War. There had been no war in which, 
through a prolonged struggle, it had been the desperate effort 
of each contestant to keep in the field (with gaps promptly closed 
by newly grown man-power) the largest number of soldiers the 
productive effort of the whole people could maintain. It was im- 
possible to say how many fighting men per million of population 
any country could keep recruited and supplied without depriving 
those who stayed at home of necessaries of life without which they 
could not continue to produce. 

It is still unknown how long a nation so organized can continue 
to keep up its effort. Numbers of men do not provide the answer; 
nor do things. The prevailing standard of life is involved. The 
state of mind of the individual and the zeal with which he ap- 
proves what he conceives to be the object of the war may take 


the place of men and munitions and put off the day of final 
collapse. The relentlessness of the governing class may have 
something to do with it; and the determination of a few to continue 
to survive may enable them to coerce the many into extinction. 
The future of civilization may belong to fatalistic peoples with 
low regard for human life. Certainly the form of government 
and the understanding of its people must affect military outcome 
and endurance. Perhaps the Tightness of a cause may be enough 
to carry a staggering nation through the one last day that results 
in victory. But in a democracy, staying democratic through the 
duration of a modern war, every menace directed at the enemy 
must be matched by explanation directed at the constituent so 
that the latter may continue approval and support. 

Whatever number of men per million may be detached from 
the work of normal life and sent against the enemy, a larger 
number, even better skilled, must be diverted from their occu- 
pations of peace in order to provide those who fight with the sup- 
plies and weapons they must have. And what is left of the popula- 
tion, after these deductions, must, by a balance of production 
and conservation, support the nation while keeping alive them- 
selves. There are no tables of proportion to which rulers may turn 
for guidance at the beginning of a war. Only experience, tempered 
from day to day by the nature of the war, can be their guide. 

The Selective Service Act, designed in part to prevent the 
uneven wastage of productive strength through voluntary enlist- 
ment, made it the duty of the Army to select the men. whom it 
could best use and to leave at home those who could best work 
there. The administration of the draft was intensely localized 
in the draft boards and the State boards of appeal. The definitions 
upon which these local bodies acted were handed down from the 
head of the Army. In these, as reordered in December, and 
amended before the second registration, the principle was laid 
down that young men should do the fighting. 

Men of draft age were soon in the clutch of registration, tied 
to the fate of their numbers, to be used as needed. Those who 
received deferred classification and were left on the job at home, 


and those, younger than twenty-one or older than thirty who 
were not listed, were in no one's clutch. They could seek work 
as they pleased. Often the work sought them at fancy prices. 
Those of them who constituted the body of organized labor con- 
tinued to support the organizations which they had created in 
order to bargain for wages and working conditions. The Govern- 
ment was ready to deal with organized labor to a degree to which 
business had not accustomed itself. Under the patronage of 
Government the unions grew in numbers. Never yet more than a 
small fraction of the men who worked, the organized unionists 
who claimed to speak for all workers reached a total of 2,371,434 
dues-paying members. Their delegates met for their thirty-eighth 
annual convention in St. Paul on June 10, 1918. They had grown 
a quarter-million since their last meeting in Buffalo; they were to 
grow half a million more by the time they met in Atlantic City in 
June, 1919. At no time did their total reach that of the men and 
women in the military service, enrolled in the War Risk Bureau 
of the Treasury. 

In general, although there were many individual exceptions 
where men went to war undriven by legal obligation, organized 
labor was not even asked to fight. The union workers, steady 
professionals in their crafts, with family obligations and definite 
places in the industrial machine, were commonly above draft 
age or in classes whose calling was deferred and never reached. 
The men who volunteered or who were drafted, again with many 
exceptions, were likely not to have acquired heavy domestic 
obligations or to hold key positions in their shops. Sixty per cent 
of those who had filed their blanks before the second registration 
for the draft declared that they had no dependents. War is a 
class business, in which those most likely to be maimed are the 
very ones whose influence in determining their service is least. 

It results from these conditions that the organization of an army 
moves with military precision. Men march because they must. 
But the organization of the people who maintain the army is a 
matter of continuous negotiation. The men who work the shops 
and railroads, so long as their right to refrain from work is con- 


ceded, may do much to determine the conditions of their contri- 
bution. What they do not get by bargaining they may reach at 
when they vote. They bargained in 1917, inspired by the fear 
that war necessity would fall upon them more heavily than upon 
other classes, that hours of labor would be lengthened, that low 
wages would be forced upon them and made a matter of patriotic 
duty. The assurance of the Government, in the arrangements 
made through Gompers, that these disasters should not strike 
them, carried less than complete conviction. The mere confusion 
due to the shifting of labor to serve war needs and to the recruiting 
of labor from classes that had been accustomed to different work 
provided an abundance of occasions for controversy. Every war 
job, every war agency, found that before it could reach the stage 
of quantity production it must come to terms with individual 
citizens who, being free to work, were free to refrain from working. 
The labor adjustment agencies of 1917, put together piecemeal 
as emergencies arose, had the common quality of a desire to main- 
tain the continuous flow of production without the intermissions 
caused by strikes. If they had done no more than preserve a 
reasonable peace they would have served. One of them did much 
more. It brought into the picture Felix Frankfurter, who, as an 
assistant to Baker, was sent in September, 1917, to Bisbee and 
elsewhere in the West. The Secretary of Labor, William B. Wilson, 
was chairman of the President's Mediation Commission, but 
Frankfurter, its secretary, was the motive power. In the report, 
which he filed January 9, 1918, the Commission recommended 
to the President a 'unified direction of the labor administration 
of the United States for the period of the war. 5 The Council of 
National Defense came to a similar conclusion at the same time, 
advising that Wilson, one of its members and one whose Cabinet 
Department was of fact-finding rather than of administrative 
character, should reorganize his Department. This was to become 
a War Labor Administration, and approximated it before the 
year was over. It did not take on distended war functions com- 
parable to those of the six great war boards, but it enlarged old 
activities and undertook new ones that proved to have more than 
a war importance. 


As a part of the reorganization. Secretary Wilson called upon 
the American Federation of Labor and the National Industrial 
Conference Board to name five representatives each, as spokes- 
men for labor and its employers. Each of the groups so named 
chose a sixth from civil life. The selection of the labor group was 
one of its own kind: Frank P. Walsh, recently chairman of the 
Committee on Industrial Relations, who had had a turbulent 
career as labor lawyer. The employers' group chose William 
Howard Taft. Appointed in February, the National War Labor 
Conference Board, so constituted, debated in March and reported 
in April. At the heart of its recommendation was provision for 
something resembling a supreme court for labor controversy, to 
sit in a case only when all other machinery for settlement had 
been tried without success, and to give relief only in cases in which 
work was continued during the period of litigation. 

On April 8 the appointment of the National War Labor Board 
to be such a court was made public. The conference members 
who had recommended it were named as members. Taft and 
Walsh were designated as joint chairmen, and in the procedure 
of the Board they presided alternately. Both Gompers and the 
National Manufacturers' Association approved the venture. In 
more than a year of service the Board listened to more than one 
thousand disputes, acting always as a buffer between the Govern- 
ment and the capital and labor that were serving the Government. 
The National War Labor Board was without legislative authority, 
being created without action of Congress, but the powers of the 
President were enough to give it teeth. When the Smith and 
Wesson plant at Springfield declined to accept a ruling it disliked, 
the War Department commandeered its plant. When the work- 
men at Bridgeport resisted a ruling they provoked from the 
President a sharp letter to the International Union of Machinists 
pointing out the fact that deferred classification or industrial ex- 
emption under the draft implied an obligation to work without 

The Taft-Walsh Board was a court; but the great need of the 
Government was a procedure which might prevent cases from 


arising. In May the Board was supplemented by a War Labor 
Policies Board, with Frankfurter as chairman. In this body 
policy was discussed, that the Government might be advised. 
Each of the chief departments had its representative associated 
with Frankfurter' as they worked out uniform standards of labor 
conditions and adjustment methods, since the United States itself 
had now become the greatest American employer of labor. By 
midsummer, as one of the activities of the reorganized Department 
of Labor, a United States Employment Service was in operation. 
In its regional offices the common labor of the United States was 
pooled and through its influence the competition of employers 
for labor was moderated. It claimed to have registered 5,300,000 
laborers, and to have placed 3,700,000 of them in jobs. 

The inability of boards to function sharply had become in- 
creasingly visible during the experimental period of the war, 
in 1917. They clashed with the unwritten law of administration 
that authority must be complete and that lines of command must 
not be clogged a law not inconsistent with democratic control 
of policy. Above the whole machine the power of the President 
was completely established by the surrender of the opposition 
and the passage of the Overman Act. The delegation of great 
sections of this authority was administratively impossible until 
the task had shown its shape, and impossible politically until 
public opinion was ready to accept it. The magic of great names, 
or names that could be built up until they looked great, helped; 
but it did not make supermen out of the holders of the names. 
The notion that the day of supermen or dictators had arrived was 
bolstered by the concentration of power in the hands of such as 
March, Goethals, Baruch, and the chairmen of the various war 
boards. They were not supermen. They were dictators in only 
the loose sense that responsibility was concentrated upon their 

The program of the United States Shipping Board, to be 
brought into being by the Emergency Fleet Corporation, was 
audacious. On the inspiring idea of a 'bridge of ships' the Fleet 
Corporation had launched its schedule. With every existing 


yard fully at work, it became a matter of new facilities before 
there could be new bottoms beneath the freights of the A.E.F. 
No offer of assistance could be rejected if there were even a gam- 
bler's chance that there might be a contribution behind it. Yards 
were enlarged, which must be completed before the first new 
keels could be laid. New yards were authorized, which had to be 
worked up in blueprints before contracts could be let. Steel ships 
and wooden ships were authorized wherever builders thought 
they could construct them. Concrete ships, too, ultimately took 
the water and managed to keep afloat. And the great assembly 
plants, upon whose multiple ways ships would be put together 
out of parts fabricated in inland factories, were hurried toward 
completion while the naval architects sketched the ship patterns 
suitable for quantity production. But assembly plants had to be 
designed before they could be built. All the difficulties of site, 
labor, material, transportation, and capital had to be met for 
ships as for training camps. Moreover, the frigid winter, which 
froze coal in the open freight cars into solid blocks of ice, froze 
as well the river marshes through which piles had to be driven 
before any shipway could be built on firm foundation. Between 
1914 and 1917 each of the Allies had had enough of confusion and 
waste motion in its own war plans, but each of the enemies had 
been similarly held back. The whole scheme of American prepara- 
tion had to be telescoped into twelve months, as against the 
three times twelve months in which the Allies had advanced to 
the stage of fitness in which the United States found them upon 
joining the war in 1917. 

Difficulties were inherent in the program of the Shipping 
Board because of the fact that the tonnage of the American 
merchant fleet, after a year of war, was only a bookkeeping tonnage 
reached by transfer to the Shipping Board of ships which would 
in any event have served some master. They were made more 
embarrassing by the American facility in exaggeration. 

Those who issued grandiloquent press releases about the pro- 
gram often managed to believe themselves. Those who read them 
read only the totals without realizing what they meant. The 


Allies, with a despairing readiness to believe the worst, found in 
the discrepancy between estimate and performance either decep- 
tion or incompetence. The Shipping Board had given wide 
publicity to its intention to requisition some three million dead- 
weight tons of ships already under construction and to build about 
fifteen million tons more on its own account. But no new ship 
of its own had been delivered to it before the Allied Maritime 
Transport Council began in March, 1918, to take account of stock. 

By September I, 1918, the Shipping Board claimed 8,693,579 
deadweight tons of ships upon its roster. Most of these had been 
taken from their other owners by seizure, angaria^ or requisition; 
I >344> 2 4 2 tons represented the requisitioned hulls that had been 
on the ways when war was declared; only 465,454 tons were in 
the form of new ships built for the Fleet Corporation. The war 
could not wait for quantity production of ships in United States 
yards to become a fact or a factor. Dissatisfaction with the visible 
results after great promises needed to be assuaged whether ships 
were built or not. 

Charles M. Schwab was drafted the day Baker returned to 
Washington, April 16, 1918, with a new title of Director-General 
and full authority over the ships and shipyards of the Emergency 
Fleet. Hurley, chairman of the Shipping Board since July, con- 
tinued as chairman, and he had at last found a head who was 
likely to make things move, or at least to make them look like 
movement. Schwab had had three predecessors since Goethals 
dropped the task. He was one of the wonder boys of steel, who 
had not ceased to be a boy when he became a magnate. Brought 
up among the mills, he began as a lad to drive stakes for the 
Carnegie companies. Before he was much more than a boy he 
was managing their plants; and when his master sold out to the 
great consolidation, Schwab was ripe to be president of the United 
States Steel Corporation. Always more interested in making steel 
than in managing corporations, Schwab left the Steel Corporation 
after a few years to devote himself to Bethlehem Steel. In 1918 
he was as busy with contracts for munitions and steel shapes as 
it was possible to be, when the White House drafted him for the 


duration of the war. His heavy contribution in 1916 to the 
Hughes campaign fund made no impediment in Wilson's mind 
or in that of the new Director-General. 

Schwab found that his predecessors had started what it now 
became his business to hurry along. Unfortunately, the program 
had never a chance of fulfillment in a war that was over in nine- 
teen months. Before he took the job he had an understanding 
with Baruch that his yards should get their steel, and with the 
Shipping Board that his hand should be free. The Board had 
removed one of his predecessors for overstepping his authority 
by ordering the Fleet Corporation out of Washington. Schwab 
moved it immediately to Philadelphia where it might have room 
to grow. He explained to a House committee that he did not 
regard shipbuilding as a matter of engineering: C I regarded as 
the essential feature in producing ships the enthusing of the work- 
ing people . . . making them realize the importance of what they 
were doing in conjunction with the men in the trenches.' If the 
President had been able to command a similar personality to give 
new tone to the other delinquent program, it would have been 
well. Aircraft production was notoriously behind promise, and 
was perhaps behind reasonable expectation. 

On a single day in March, above a single training field in Texas, 
as Mark Sullivan wrote in Colliers, one hundred and thirty-seven 
airplanes flew more hours than had been flown by all the military 
planes of the United States before April, 1917. An air service 
was in the making, but the fleet of planes whose innumerable 
wings were to darken the sun had not yet been built. The estimate 
of 1917 that twenty-two thousand airplanes with their proper 
spares would be required before July I, 1918, was as far from 
fulfillment as was the estimate of a bridge of ships. The tour de 
force of the designers, in producing plans for the Liberty engine 
in a few hours, was an encouragement to morale when announced. 
But, in proportion as anyone had assumed that hopes would be 
fulfilled, the disappointment was keen when the news broke in 
January, 1918, that the planes had not arrived. A misleading 
press release in February announcing the shipment of the first 


American battle planes to France, five months ahead of schedule, 
made disappointment worse. Few were aware of the dispropor- 
tion between the American promise and the reality on the Western 
Front, where, said Baker, neither side had ever had at once as 
many as twenty-five hundred planes. Rumor spread that a private 
investigator for the President, Gutzon Borglum, had claimed to 
have found dishonesty as well as incompetence in the execution 
of the program. In any event, the effort to expend the aircraft 
appropriation of 1917 did not produce until April 8, 1918, the 
completed model that was to be the 'main reliance of our service- 
plane program,' the De Haviland-4, with a Liberty twelve-cylinder 
engine. Benedict Crowell has described the welter of confusion 
and the pressure salesmanship from European manufacturers 
in the midst of which the War Department selected its types for 
quantity production. 

During the midwinter period of reorganization the air program 
as a subject of gossip and suspicion would not down. When 
Stettinius went into the War Department it was hinted that 
perhaps he was to be placed in charge. Neither the public, nor 
congressmen who knew more than the public, could believe that 
American ingenuity was insufficient for the execution of the 
program. There had been change after change as the program 
expanded. When the Council of National Defense had launched 
its Aircraft Production Board in May, 1917, the responsibility 
for army aircraft had been only one of the many responsibilities 
of the Chief Signal Officer, Brigadier-General George O. Squier. 
Naval aviation belonged to the Chief of the Bureau of Construc- 
tion. The two chiefs were legal sponsors for all contracts, but in 
neither Department had the work been specialized. When the 
aviation appropriation, $640,000,000, was made in July, the 
need for specialization and team-work became more clear. In 
October, an Aircraft Board representing both Departments was 
created by law and given the duty to advise both Army and 
Navy. But early in 1918 the law officers pointed out the strict 
limits within which the Board could give even advice. The old 
difficulty which had wrecked the sub-committees of the Council 


of National Defense helped to wreck aircraft. If the civilian 
advisers were not suspect among the manufacturers because of 
their connection with rival firms, they were suspect to Congress 
as having some interest in the execution of the contracts upon 
whose drafting they gave advice. 

The uncertainty as to what to do retarded the program more 
than did the administrative organization of the Government. 
Whatever the type of plane and engine, there remained the 
problem of spruce. The wooden propellers and the wooden 
struts of the aircraft wings required the finest wood available, 
which was found only in small amounts in the logs as cut. Just 
as Pershing's men had to go into the forests of France to cut the 
piles for the docks at the American ports, the Army had to go 
into the Northwest forests to get its spruce. The American lumber 
industry was none too happy even before the war. Wood substi- 
tutes were beginning to change its balance with its market. 
Lumber fortunes, built up among the stands of pine and hard- 
wood in the Northern States, had been swung into fir and spruce 
on the Pacific, and also into Southern pine. The industry was 
bothered by freight rates, by Sherman Act restrictions upon 
combination, by Government ventures in conservation, and by 
labor. The labor difficulty was harshest in just the region where 
stood the spruce needed to be logged for the airplanes. Here the 
migrant labor of the lumber camps, much of it American, had 
welcomed the organizing efforts of the LW.W. It was mutinous 
and unpopular, threatening by its disposition to block the program. 

As one of the preliminaries to building planes, the Army sent 
an officer, Brice P. Bisque, into the Northwest to see what could 
be done. Upon his recommendation a Spruce Production Division 
was created in the Aircraft Board, and through his efforts an 
anti-I.W.W. labor organization was set up in the Northwest 
forests. His L.L.L.L. Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumber- 
men reduced labor turnover and brought out the logs. Thir- 
teen railroads had to be built before the logs reached the mills. 
Even then the lumber had to wait for plans before it could be 
fabricated into final shapes. A Spruce Production Corporation 


(Government-owned) came eventually Into existence to manage 
the business and to dispose of the greater fraction of the cut be- 
cause only perfect lumber could be used. 

The supply of cloth to cover the wings gave out. When England 
was unable to produce linen in quantity sufficient for this, the 
Bureau of Standards was invoked to draw specifications for a 
cotton substitute. This involved chemical search for a suitable 
'dope' with which to dress the cloth. Factories had to be con- 
verted before they could turn out either 'dope' or cloth. Lubrica- 
tion presented its problems, because the engineers believed that 
no other lubricant possessed all the advantages of castor oil. There 
were stories afloat concerning the vain efforts of an air officer 
to get from the wholesale druggists the castor oil, for it was in a 
medicinal way that the castor-oil bean had hitherto served society. 
It was not to be had in tank-car lots. Before the spring planting 
season arrived in 1918, an officer of the Signal Corps was placing 
contracts for acreage of castor-oil beans. The San Francisco Call 
believed (and the cautious Christian Science Monitor confirmed it) 
that as many as one hundred thousand acres were to be planted. 
The birds had been nesting in the trees that were to make the 
Shipping Board's wooden ships; the seeds that were to raise the 
beans that were in turn to make the oil for airplane engines had 
not themselves been harvested when the airplane program was 
first conceived. 

In the intervals between his efforts to placate the politicians 
raging In committee. Baker was searching for a man big enough 
to direct the aircraft program yet in no way connected by business 
interest with automobiles or aircraft. He found him in the Red 
Gross organization. John D. Ryan, brought up in the Michigan 
copper country, had been picked young by Marcus Daly and 
made president of the Anaconda Copper Company in 1909. 
He left his business to work with the American Red Cross in 1917, 
was believed to be a Republican, and was scrutinized by Baker 
during the weeks in which the latter was deciding that Baruch 
was best choice for the War Industries Board. Ryan was placed 
in charge of the Aircraft Board in April, as another of the super- 


men. General Squier was left in charge of the Signal Corps, but 
was separated from his duties respecting aviation which were en- 
trusted to a Bureau of Military Aeronautics with Major-General 
William L. Kenly in command. As soon as the Overman Act 
gave the President the power (in this matter the act was almost 
mandatory). President Wilson set up Aircraft Production as an 
independent bureau in the War Department. As head of this 
Bureau Ryan built on the labors of his predecessors and brought 
order, becoming in the summer Director of Air Service and an 
Assistant Secretary of War. 

In large measure the defects of either head or heart that had 
occasioned criticism were on the way to a cure even before they 
became matters of gossip and suspicion. Borglum became a 
public figure as he maintained both the accuracy of his charges 
and his claim that a letter of introduction from the President 
had made him an official investigator. His allegations figured 
noisily during the last debates over the Overman Act; but five 
days before that act was signed the President permitted the 
Attorney-General to announce that Charles Evans Hughes had 
been retained, with full authority and a free hand, to investigate 
the execution of the aircraft program by the Signal Corps. The 
name of Hughes carried assurance that the investigation would 
be genuine, and the Senate Military Committee at his request 
called off a public investigation. When at last the Hughes report 
was given to the public in the autumn the power of initial igno- 
rance and error to block the aircraft program had been nullified. 
Thus in the air and on the sea the American contribution to the 
war was one of promise rather than of performance. 

Throughout the spring there was continuous discussion of a 
third appeal to the people for loans to carry on the war. The 
periodic emission of Treasury Certificates reached an accumulated 
total at which it was prudent to let the banks shift the load to the 
citizens as holders of bonds. How far the effect of criticism might 
blunt the popular willingness to carry on the drive for bonds and 
to subscribe to them was beyond prophecy. 

On the first anniversary of entrance into the war McAdoo 


opened the drive for the Third Liberty Loan, asking for three 
billions. Citizens marched the streets in local parades to give it 
publicity. Wilson had two days earlier signed the bill authorizing 
four and one-fourth per cent bonds, non-convertible, to run for 
ten years. The preparations, more intense with each successive 
drive, had been long in the making. Howard Chandler Christy 
and his co-artists had drawn their posters. Lapel buttons had 
been prepared by millions. The Four-Minute Men had been 
briefed for their appearances in movie theaters. Arrangements 
had been made to take care of private needs for finance, so that 
Government need might monopolize the field. The National 
Security League had put its private troupes of speakers on the 
road. And the President, speaking at Baltimore, had for the 
moment abandoned his Vedge' that distinguished between the 
German people and their rulers, as he used the words 'force, force 
to the uttermost.' When the returns were in, in May, the loan was 
oversubscribed. In the four weeks' drive 18,376,815 subscribers 
had signed for $4,176,516,850 in Liberty Bonds. And when a 
few days later Crowder issued his work or fight ruling on the draft, 
it and the United States were in as nearly complete harmony 
as possible. 


by the resounding roar of approval of the war 
doctrine were some discordant notes. When the war was over, and 
peace with victory appeared to be no peace at all, these notes 
were caught up with avidity, amplified by hate and hope, and 
used to the discredit of the doctrines that had overwhelmed them. 
In building up the case for a relentless prosecution of the war until 
victory should make it possible to organize a peace, there was 
hysteria that went beyond the need. It was unusual for democracy 
to find itself acting in agreement without a minority strong enough 
to impede it. As a consequence of this unusual agreement and of 
the intensity of its expression, democracy became a mob, ruled 
by mob psychology and injured by it. 

The people of the United States, in their enthusiasm, lost sight 
of rights, whether of the individual or of the minority. Determina- 
tion to defeat an enemy was stiffened by growing hatred of the 
enemy, by apprehension lest there be enemies at home, by con- 
tempt for the American who picked his words, maintained his 
balance, and by being less indiscriminate than the orator of the 
day appeared to be the opponent of the orator. At times volunteer 
speakers allowed themselves to denounce as traitorous audiences 
that did not applaud enough. Coercion supplemented persuasion 
as salesmen pushed the Liberty Bonds. The weeks during which 
the work-or-fight basis was established were also weeks in which 
American moderation was permanently threatened by the mad- 
ness which goes with war. 

The week in which the War of 1917 passed into its second year 
was a week of landmark events upon the several fronts. No one 
person in this week saw even all of the single front on which he 


fought. No one of the sequences of events was unrolled without 
Involvement with all the rest. No individual could measure the 
degree to which they interlocked or know their course. No one 
yet knows. 

In Flanders the German army let loose its second terrific 
wave of 1918, desperately determined to end the war before the 
American divisions should arrive. At Chaumont and Tours the 
A.E.F. plodded with its program, unable in the crisis to throw its 
weight. At Beauvais Pershing was shocked to hear the British 
opinion that his Administration had let him down. It had not let 
him down; but until he realized that his authority was still intact 
the shock was as great as though fully warranted. In Washington 
the Third Liberty Loan Drive was set for launching, and the War 
Finance Corporation began to function; both were to test the 
degree to which public spirit was behind the war. In sundry 
offices at the Capital, Goethals was preparing to step out in one- 
man charge of Purchase, Storage, and Traffic; the Emergency 
Fleet was getting ready to receive a new headpiece in the guise of 
Schwab, as near-dictator; and Taft was being drawn out of his 
prolonged campaign for the League to Enforce Peace to take over 
judicial functions in the field of labor. Under the dome of the 
Capitol and harried by their constituents, congressmen were 
deliberating laws to tighten the hold of the Government over war 
dissenters. In California the Hindoo plotters, admitting that 
German money had financed them, were being hurried to con- 
viction. In Wisconsin, the election of a junior Senator to sit next 
Robert M. La Follette was measuring the intensity and the direc- 
tion of war emotions. Philadelphia was preparing to receive, 
without blare of trumpets, a final convention to liquidate the affairs 
of the National German-American Alliance. And in a mining 
town in Illinois, one Robert Prager was done to death. 

Robert Prager, as his Senator, Sherman of Illinois, explained 
on the Monday after he was lynched, had lived in the United 
States since 1905, and worked in a zinc smelter at Collinsville. 
He was by birth a German, by preference a union worker, and by 
conviction a Socialist. He was unpopular among his fellows before 



he was arrested, and on Thursday, April 4, he was in the local jail 
where he and others had been gathered on suspicion of disloyalty. 
Congress, while Prager lay in the lock-up, was debating amend- 
ments to the Espionage Act, in order that the crime of sedition 
might be so defined that juries could indict and courts convict. 
In case after case, when arrests on suspicion occurred, it was dis- 
covered that nothing that was actionable was capable of proof; 
and it was not practicable to bring suspects into court on mere 
suspicion. The dismissal of suspects, when the law provided no 
ground upon which to hold them, served the ends of justice but 
embittered the opinion of the mob. Fall of New Mexico was warn- 
ing his colleagues in the Senate to describe crimes in clear lan- 
guage unless they wished direct action by the people or interven- 
tion by courts martial. Another Senator, Chamberlain, was pre- 
paring to support a bill entrusting to Army courts the suppression 
of sedition. 

A dismissal of suspects had occurred in Collinsville at the end of 
March. Prager, unfortunate, was still in jail when a mob of miners 
succumbed to enthusiasm and alcohol and took him from his cell. 
No violence was needed. An officer at the jail testified at the in- 
quest that he refrained from drawing a revolver on the mob 
because the telephone rang and he had to answer it. Other 
officers averred that they would have shot had the mob tried to 
hang its victim within city limits. Outside these, they disclaimed 
jurisdiction. The mob gave its victim time to write a pathetic 
letter to his parents in Dresden, then killed him. 

The proponents of anti-lynching laws treated the Prager murder 
as another reason for a Federal statute. The temperance forces 
found in it another reason for* the proscription of alcohol. The 
Cabinet, when it discussed the press reports of the disgrace on 
Friday morning, found in it further evidence of a rising tide of 
intolerance and pressed upon Congress for a law that should give 
explicit definition to crimes of sedition, enable courts to do their 
duty, and at the same time save the innocent from death. Myers 
of Montana, always extreme in demanding action against sabo- 
tage, syndicalism, and sedition, found reinforcement for his argu- 


men! that Congress should take the laws of his own State as a 
model and put down dissent. 

It was another matter to put it down without running foul of the 
Constitution and doing to free government more damage than any 
dissenter could inflict. The mobs, whose excess was feared, were 
less concerned with proof than with direct action. The American 
population of German or Austro-Hungarian origin, whether 
naturalized or not, had fallen victim to the unpopularity of its 
countries of origin. Enemy aliens were already under presidential 
regulation, but they had little more to bear than any Americans 
whose names testified to German parentage. Lutheran clergymen 
were delivering their sermons in English to avoid the curse upon 
the German tongue. School boards were eliminating the German 
language from their curricula, and university trustees, under 
compulsion, were investigating the loyalty of such of their pro- 
fessors as were of German birth. The foreign-language press was 
filing with the local postmaster translations of such of their columns 
as might have a bearing upon war issues. The volunteers who fed 
into the Department of Justice their comments upon the suspicious 
acts of alleged traitors were flooding the dockets with cases that 
must be investigated. German societies, however innocent they 
may have been in fact, were finding it difficult, if not impossible, to 

Greatest of all the incorporated objects of distrust, the Deutsch- 
Amerikanische Nationalbund, folded up its tents. When this society 
was formed in Philadelphia in 1901, there were already in existence 
in several States local German-American alliances for the preser- 
vation of the German traditions of their members. Delegates came 
to Philadelphia from twenty-two States to make an alliance na- 
tional in scope. The avowed purpose was cultural and reminis- 
cent, but around the written program there began to accumulate 
at once a suspicion that here was an agency of dangerous propa- 
ganda. 'The German Government cannot well prevent rattle- 
headed Germans from talking and writing 7 ran an immediate 
editorial, but there was some evidence that the German Govern- 
ment did in fact encourage it. William II, when the National 


German- American Alliance was formed, was engaged in courting 
not only the Government of the United States but the Germans 
overseas. The visit of his brother. Prince Henry, in 1902, was used 
to strengthen the bond of sentiment. There was some doubt 
whether the Imperial Government regarded the duty of a German 
to the Fatherland as quashed by his acceptance of naturalization 
in the United States. And it was alleged that the Emperor had 
declared that no Government could stay in power in the United 
States in opposition to the German vote. 

But the United States welcomed the Alliance. Congress had 
often provided for the incorporation of tradition. It had accepted 
the American Historical Association as a subsidiary of itself. It 
had given recognition to the Sons and Daughters of the American 
Revolution. It gave incorporation to the National German- 
American Alliance in 1907. The political parties, in the era before 
the United States became race-conscious, had found it expedient 
to set up sub-committees to carry their gospels to their foreign- 
language adherents. 

The War of 1914 started the Alliance upon a course at variance 
with that of general American opinion, while the officers and chap- 
ters, fighting defamation of the Fatherland, brought the hyphen 
into disrepute. The German-language press, organized openly to 
block Wilson in 1916, had asked for the trouble that came to 
Germans when peace was replaced by war. The funds the Ger- 
mans raised for the relief of suffering were easily believed to have 
been diverted to subversive ends in the United States. After 1917, 
no argument could convince American opinion that the incor- 
porated Germans were not a menace. 

Everything German was banned, in spite of the evidence that 
Germans were accepting the draft, buying Liberty Bonds, and 
serving on war committees wherever Americans of non-German 
names would let them. It was esteemed as patriotic to sign 
pledges never again to buy goods of German manufacture. Even 
the physical markers of the German past became objects of hostil- 
ity. The statue of von Steuben, commemorating loyal service 
to the Revolution, could not escape disapproval as it stood across 


Pennsylvania Avenue, opposite the White House. The statue of 
von Steuben's master Frederick the Great, presented to the 
United States when William II courted Theodore Roosevelt, 
became an embarrassment as a symbol of Prussian militarism. 
This statue, hardly welcomed when thrust upon the Capital, had 
been erected in an out-of-the-way corner in Washington on the 
terrace of the Army War College. When excited patriotism 
launched a resolution in the Senate to remove it, the Army did 
not wait to be driven. From Washington Barracks, where the 
Engineers held sway, a gang of men came quietly with a derrick to 
the terrace of the War College, lifted the statue from its base and 
stored it in the basement out of sight. 

It was inevitable that among the minor actions of the war the 
Senate Committee on the Judiciary should investigate the charges 
of disloyalty clustering around the German- American Alliance, 
that the officers of the organization (when they had not already 
resigned) should testify to its innocence and loyalty, and that 
the repeal of the charter should become a law. The President 
signed the repeal on July 30, but the Alliance had already been 
dissolved. On April 1 1 it met in the city of its origin, voted to 
disband, emptied its treasury into the coffers of the American 
Red Cross, and became a victim of war intolerance. 

The lesser victims of the mob had no redress. In more than one 
parade that celebrated the launching of the Liberty Loan they 
marched under compulsion, some of them forced to wear stulti- 
fying placards. The larger victims, with greater power to evade or 
to fight back, became subjects of intemperate debate. Greatest of 
these, La Follette, had recently suffered the humiliation of a re- 
jection by his own State. It was not he who had been a candidate 
in the special election of Senator held on April 2, but his personal- 
ity had with increasing prominence dominated the political dis- 
cussions in and about Wisconsin since the unfortunate September 
meeting of the Nonpartisan League in St. Paul, where the Associ- 
ated Press had mistakenly made him say c we had no grievance.* 

Within a few days of the St. Paul speech the demand was upon 
the Senate to expel him. The Minnesota Public Safety Committee 


formulated the demand. Senator Frank P. Kellogg read the 
speech to the Senate with grave disapproval and made the mo- 
tion. The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections was 
directed to investigate, and La Follette, on a matter of personal 
privilege, made a defense on October 6. More than his status in 
the Senate was involved; his control of his State was in danger. 
He brought suit at home against his detractors, while his friends 
prepared for him a militant mouthpiece in the Madison Capital 
TimeSy which made its appearance in December. It developed 
that the fight against him in the Senate was the lesser of his wor- 
ries, since his colleagues, of whatever party, so valued their own 
personal right to be obstinate that they were reluctant to take 
extreme measures even against a Senator who blocked their action. 
And Republicans, however deeply they disapproved his war views 
or his Progressive principles, were not unwilling that someone 
should take the unpopular lead in baiting the Administration. 
The Senate Committee held meetings, received floods of tele- 
graphic advice, heard testimony, took recesses, and managed to 
put off a report until, with the war a matter of history, it could 
safely recommend a dismissal of the charges. His case took a more 
painful slant when in October the junior Senator, Paul Husting, 
was accidentally shot while on a hunting trip and Wisconsin faced 
a showdown on its emotions in a campaign to elect a successor. 
It was not usual for Wisconsin to have a Democratic Senator. 
Husting, a progressive Democrat, had won his seat in 1914 only 
because of Progressive votes given to him in the absence of a 
Republican candidate whom La Follette Progressives would ap- 
prove. An American-born son of a Luxemburger father and a 
daughter of Solomon Juneau, who had a trading post on the site of 
Milwaukee long before there was a town, Paul Husting trained in 
politics with Woodrow Wilson. His speeches during the period of 
neutrality separated him from the La Follette wing of his sup- 
porters, since they made few concessions to the German- American 
point of view. His death let loose a struggle of Democrats to 
replace him with another Administration man, of La Follette to 
elect a Progressive, and of conservative Republicans to prevent the 


selection of a La Follette adherent. Every candidacy offered for 
party consideration at the primary, March 19, 1918, was tested by 
its bearing on the issues of the war and on those of local politics. 
It was the strategy of the opponents of La Follette to make use of 
his unpopularity, and to make the issue one of loyalty in order to 
belittle whatever effort the Senator might make in behalf of a 
candidate agreeable to him. 

While the primary contest was under way the fight on La Fol- 
lette reached its height. No public institution was closer to his 
heart than was his State University; yet most of its faculty turned 
against him in resolutions which just escaped denouncing him as 
traitor. The Madison Club expelled him. School boards and 
boards of supervisors resolved against him. The State legislature, 
in a joint resolution which it sent to Congress, affirmed the loyalty 
of the State, and condemned La Follette 'and all others who have 
failed to see the righteousness of our Nation's cause. 3 

In the primary vote in Wisconsin the loyalty' candidates re- 
ceived a clear majority over those cast for either La Follette's 
candidate or for Victor Berger, who took the Socialist nomination 
without opposition. La Follette failed to secure the nomination of 
a supporter. The election brought into three-cornered fight 
Berger, whose anti-war stand was open and avowed; Joseph E. 
Davies, a useful Wilson Democrat who resigned from the Federal 
Trade Commission to be a candidate; and Irvine L. Lenroot, once 
a La Follette lieutenant, who had abandoned his leader on the 
issue of the war. The President wrote a letter in support of Davies, 
who belittled Lenroot as a war supporter. J. Hamilton Lewis was 
sent into the State to speak for the Democratic candidate, and the 
Vice-President, Marshall, came for a great rally in the University 
stock pavilion, where his indiscriminate abuse of the opposition to 
Davies cost his candidate votes. 

Since no La Follette candidate survived the primary, there was 
doubt as to the redistribution of the La Follette vote, but no one 
received it all. Lenroot was elected Senator, fully committed to 
the war. He and the other loyalty' candidate, Davies, received 
together 313,000 of the 423,000 votes cast, which came within a 


few thousand of the presidential vote cast in 1916. The 110,000 
going to Berger (showing marked increase from his primary vote 
of 38,000) suggest perhaps the extreme dimensions of the anti-war 
spirit in the most German of the States. The Chicago Tribune 
thanked God for Marshall who had spilled the beans for the 
Democrats. The San Francisco Chronicle rejoiced that 'Wisconsin 
has voted herself loyal. 3 La Follette was more than ever a scape- 
goat, nursing wounds that rankled, which his followers kept open. 

Victor Berger, whose vote on April 2 ran far ahead of the voting 
strength of Socialists in Wisconsin, was victim of a different sort. 
His Milwaukee Leader was excluded from the second-class mailing 
privilege. He was, even before the primary, under indictment by 
a Chicago jury for violation of the Espionage Act, but his offense 
was substantially that of being a Socialist in war time. There was 
hazard in this, for verdicts and sentences reached against a back- 
ground of war emotion were taking on an aspect of persecution 
rather than punishment. Berger was not convicted until the war 
was over. His constituents had meanwhile re-elected him to Con- 
gress where he forced the House to decide what to do with Social- 
ists and with members under indictment or conviction. 

Jeremiah A. O'Leary, who had received uncomfortable pub- 
licity in 1916, was caught in the prosecutor's net. His Irishry 
had impelled him to join hands with any of the enemies of England 
and had made him an ally of the German intrigue before von 
Bernstorff was sent home. His Bull continued anti-English until 
Burleson ruled it out of the mails in August, 1917. When the 
State Department, in the autumn, released documents from its file 
of German dispatches his name was mentioned and a true bill was 
found against him. When his case was at last called in Judge 
Hand's court, on the day Wilson signed the Overman Act, May 
20, it was discovered that he had jumped his bail. He became the 
objective of a little man-hunt, until he was picked up in the North- 
west and brought back to New York to plead not guilty and to be 

In the period of stress in 1918 many of the critics of the war 
were not courageous enough to fight the currents of opinion. Not 


so Debs 5 whose convictions could be neither coaxed nor silenced. 
On June 16, 1918, he attended a Socialist convention at Canton, 
Ohio, and spoke out against the war in words that could be inter- 
preted as obstructing enlistment. War justice moved promptly 
against him, for he was too w r ell known ever to be inconspicuous. 
He was arrested in a fortnight, tried at Cleveland in the autumn, 
and there convicted and sentenced to a ten-year term. When the 
Supreme Court, in March, 1919, upheld his conviction he went to 
prison. President Harding released him from Atlanta on Christ- 
mas Day, 1921; but while in prison he had received in 1920 more 
than 900,000 votes for President. 

The popular nervousness and the frenzy against spies and so- 
called traitors outlasted the period of work or fight. In the week 
in which Debs w r ent on trial, Oswald G. Villard's Nation., carrying 
a leader under the caption 'Civil Liberty Dead, 3 was held up in 
the New York Post Office. The Government was pressing heavily 
upon critics and dissenters, and war extremists were, in turn, 
training their guns upon members of the Administration as luke- 
warm in the prosecution of the war. 

There were three chief points in the indictment of the Adminis- 
tration as the nagging continued after the field-days before the 
Senate Committee in January. The first of these was incompe- 
tence; second, was softness with traitors and pro-Germans; third, 
was softness with the enemy. In varying degrees these provided 
themes for those who desired to criticize without risking the odium 
of disloyalty. No other public character attained the prominence 
of Theodore Roosevelt as he prodded the Administration by 
editorials in the Kansas City Star, or let himself be sent on speaking 
tours. Root, Taft, and Hughes had found tasks in connection with 
the work of the war Government, but Roosevelt had been unac- 
ceptable and remained equally devoted to the war and implacable 
in his criticism of the Administration. 

None of the minor characters took up with more verve than 
George Harvey the role of volunteer gadfly, to teach the President 
the responsibilities of his office. Harvey used the editorial section 
of the North American Review until his earnestness outran its flexi- 


bility. In the month of contest for a different kind of war govern- 
ment, January, he turned these pages into a personal journal, the 
War Weekly, and used his skilled pen without restraint. Had any of 
the proposed laws, forbidding words used in 'disrespect 9 been in 
force, Harvey would have become a weekly culprit. He professed 
that he brought support to the President to win the war. Occa- 
sionally he spoke well of Wilson or of others in the Government, but 
the tenor of his comments, apart from his hostility to the enemy and 
to the league that was to enforce peace, was to undermine their 
repute and their authority. He used the word 'mannikins'; with 
the result that Lodge urged him to use it oftener and to stress the 
idea that Woodrow Wilson feared to have around him any but 
little men. He was going at high speed when Baker came back 
from the inspection tour in France, derided the Secretary as c cooty 5 
Baker, denounced him as 'shockingly and dangerously unfit for 
his job, 5 and expected from him 'nothing but piffle, piddling, 
pacifist piffle. 5 

The fate of Leonard Wood provided material for many of the 
critics who believed that the Government was afraid of big men. 
The other of the two major-generals who might have been sent to 
France, Wood had become a sort of martyr for even those who 
had no fault to find with Pershing. Work had been found for 
him to do at Camp Funston, where under his command the 
Eighty-Ninth Division was prepared for embarkation. He was in- 
cluded among the officers sent abroad to see war as it was fought, 
but he was no sooner abroad than word dribbled back that he was 
too important to be a subordinate. He had been Chief of Staff. 
On the rebound from Pershing 5 s stubborn insistence, his European 
hosts played Wood as a favorite. He talked too much until 
finally Pershing hurried him home. At home he still talked to 
committees, to Republicans, and to the young men who found his 
magnetism irresistible. His division was moved to Hoboken in 
May. Baker had decided to keep him at Camp Funston, but Wood, 
moving without specific orders, preceded the Eighty-Ninth to 
New York. Detached from his command at the very port of 
embarkation, the blow appeared to be more cruel than it was 


intended to be; but neither the Secretary nor the President would 
yield to Wood's personal appeal to be allowed to fight. His 
rejection could be interpreted as a rejection of ability, and it was so 
treated. It could also be interpreted as politics intruding upon 
war policy, for talk had begun to deal with him as a Republican 
candidate in 1920. The footnote to the episode, revealed only 
when the President was dead, w T as written In a personal letter to 
the editor of the Springfield Republican, in which Wilson gave praise 
to Wood's great ability, but recorded the belief that he was 
troublesome and insubordinate. Even if the Administration had 
wished to use him, it would have refrained, for it was aware that 
Pershing did not want him. It may even have known of Pershing's 
intention, should Wood appear, to order him home. 

The attack upon Baker was a one-sided battle as he refrained 
from answering back. Others in the Administration, when picked 
out to be whipped, sometimes indulged themselves in retorts that 
made the matter worse. George Creel, at a post of danger since 
he stood between the press and its prey, was as often as any in 
trouble and at times could not restrain himself. 

Baker had inadvertently invited trouble when he suggested that 
the American preparation should be interpreted in the light of the 
fact that the battle line was three thousand miles away. Wilson 
had invited it as early as the Lusitania sinking, in the words, 'too 
proud to fight. 5 Creel, with the same ideology in his mind., gave 
an opening at the beginning of the Liberty Loan drive. Speaking 
to an audience of lecturers, he declared himself c proud to my dying 
day that my country was inadequately prepared.' His congres- 
sional critics took it up, the press repeated it with zest; and Creel 
forgot himself and yielded to indiscretion at the Church of the 
Ascension in New York, early in May, before a radical forum 
whose members heckled him after an address. If relentless Sena- 
tors thought he was soft and socialistic, the left wing thought he 
was an oppressor who delighted in the suppression of free speech. 
One of his hecklers demanded his opinion about 'the heart of 
Congress/ He flashed back with a wise-crack, C I have not been 
slumming for years/ The newsmen picked it up. His critics 


roared In denunciation when the words reached the Congressional 
Record and were not appeased by his abject apology. The papers 
of the Committee on Public Information found their way eventu- 
ally into the National Archives, but Congress had taken its revenge 
by bad-tempered scrutiny of Creel's accounts and by refusing funds 
to let the affairs of the Committee receive orderly liquidation when 
its work was done. The official propaganda under Creel's direction 
was never violent enough to please the extremists; the National 
Security League at times diverted part of its strength from fighting 
the enemy to fighting Creel, the mouthpiece of the Government. 

The battle on the domestic front would have been easier to fight 
if it had been possible to see under the Constitution a sharp margin 
at which the right of the United States to repress sedition came 
into contact with the right of the citizen to freedom of speech, of 
the press, and of petition. The First Amendment to the Constitu- 
tion is explicit and peremptory; yet there was no serious doubt of 
the duty of the Government to maintain the United States against 
subversive attack. The complete right of the citizen to argue for 
his policy and to vote for his candidate was never denied. It was 
no more complete than his obligation not to interfere with the 
operation of a law, once passed. The dangers to the common pur- 
pose arising from overt acts in interference must be avoided with- 
out alienating too roughly those who saw in the measure of avoid- 
ance an attack upon the American theory more dangerous than 
the attack by any enemy. No one could have satisfied the extrem- 
ists on either side. 

The result was that the two ends were led into grotesque union 
to play against the middle. On the left, the minority more im- 
portant in their individual quality than in power of influence 
kept up a continuous attack under the banner of free speech. 
They had addressed the President in a round robin while the 
Espionage Act was still in Congress. And the President, just 
before his powers were enlarged in the Trading-with-the-Enemy 
Act, had written convincingly to Max Eastman on the theory of 
free speech in war time. On the right, the advocates of relentless 
war fought under the same banner, with such as Theodore Roose- 


velt and George Harvey urging that Congress refrain from putting 
into the hands of the President more power to curb opinion. When 
the left took to the rostrum it attacked the Administration as 
fighting a war to save dollars at the cost of liberty. From the right 
came charges that the Government was brave with small enemies 
and cautious with large ones. Torn Watson's little Jefersonian had 
been excluded from the mails, as had other journals of small reach 
like the Masses and the Milwaukee Leader. Why, the right wing in- 
quired, was Hearst let alone? Roosevelt collected anthologies of 
utterances, some over the pen of Hearst, some from the editorial 
columns of his chain of papers, and declared that from the press of 
a little publisher they would have led to jail. On May 2, Hearst 
absorbed the Chicago Herald, thus bringing its Associated Press 
franchise into the hands of the resulting Herald-Examiner. When it 
was discovered that out of the White House Tumulty had promptly 
written in congratulation, anticipating from the Herald-Examiner 
the c same good Democratic fight, 5 it became impossible to con- 
vince right-wing critics that politics was not being played. The 
right wing and the left had nothing in common but their deter- 
mination to resist the demand of the Administration for a better 
definition of existing crimes and an extension of the law. 

With the passage of the Trading- with-the-Enemy Act, October 
6, 1917, the power of the Government to cope with interfering 
dissent was considerable though insufficient. In the Espionage 
Act, in June, c willfuP attempts had been struck at, whether their 
intent through false statement or argument was to interfere with 
the prosecution of the war, to cause insubordination in the ranks, 
or to slow down the recruiting of the armed forces. The law gave 
no power over those opinions expressed in public which were not 
aimed at individuals or things, but whose presumed consequence 
might be conviction in the mind of another leading to an overt act. 
Conspiracy requires a coming together of minds. Obstruction 
requires that the obstructer be shown to have been in some kind of 
contact with the thing obstructed; and a denouncing of a law as 
bad, or an administrative act as evil, may not be treated as 
obstruction if government is to be free. Altgeld of Illinois, pardon- 


ing the anarchists of 1886, brought reproach upon himself as an 
enemy of government; but the conviction, spread by his passionate 
argument against a doctrine of 'constructive conspiracy/ was 
accepted even by those who were human enough to feel that he 
had, somehow, let society down. 

The Revised Statutes contained provisions helpful in the prosecu- 
tion of such interference with the laws as might be tangible; but 
what was resented and feared in 1918 was opinion out of harmony 
with mass conviction, and the expression thereof. The Selective 
Service Act had put additional weapons in the arsenal of prosecu- 
tion, but did not touch opinion and its mere expression. 

The new powers of the Postmaster-General, conferred by the 
Espionage and Trading-with-the-Enemy Acts, reached out to con- 
trol what the courts could not yet touch. Using the admitted right 
of the Government to refrain from carrying in the mails what it 
regarded as unmailable, these laws permitted Burleson to make 
administrative rulings based on his personal opinion. He could 
exclude, and exclusion from the mails was a near-equivalent for 
silencing. It was no concern of his whether or not the courts fol- 
lowed up his rulings by attempts to convict those against whom he 
ruled. His victims, if they sought to compel him to display and 
prove his reasons for action in the courts, were impeded by the 
cost and delay accompanying litigation, and while they sued for 
redress, the exclusion orders continued to operate. The alleged 
subversive activities against which the Post Office ruled were 
precisely those which the law forbade; Burleson had no power to 
define new crimes and no right to act on mere suspicion of guilt. 
But to his opinion was given the force of law, unchecked by the 
safeguards that inhere in courts. Not only the second-class mailing 
privilege, which is the very life of newspapers and periodicals, was 
under control of his judgment, but the law directed him to refuse 
to carry subversive matter of any kind. It gave him large powers 
in the examination of private correspondence. 

In the opinion of the Department of Justice, these powers, 
sweeping and unchecked as they were, were insufficient. Gregory, 
the Attorney-General, complained in April, 1918, of 'the lack of 


laws relating to disloyal utterances,' attributing to this lack the 
'danger of disorder 3 and the growth c of disrespect for legally con- 
stituted authority. 5 

The excesses of the I.W.W., and the general willingness to be- 
lieve in the power of mischief possessed by this labor union, con- 
tributed much to the further protection of loyalty by law. Frank 
Little, one of the inner circle of the I.W.W., was on August i, 1917, 
taken from his boarding-house in Butte, Montana, and hung from 
a railroad trestle. Little had recently arrived in the Northern 
copper country after an active career as agitator ranging from the 
San Joaquin Valley in California to Bisbee. He preached labor 
war against the Anaconda Company. That company attributed to 
labor strife a twenty-three per cent decrease in its output of copper 
during 1917. There was the disorder usual when labor conflict 
broke out in company towns. Facing this disorder, Montana, like 
the other States, was less than usually able to preserve the peace 
because its organized militia was outside the State. The complete 
drafting of the National Guard for service in the United States 
Army occurred on August 5. Mob violence ran unchecked. Some- 
one fastened to the garments of Little a legend in code which, being 
translated, was the symbol of those vigilantes who had done rough 
justice when Montana was a mining camp. 

Deep distrust of the purpose of the I.W.W. was not dispelled by 
the avowals of the union leaders that they fought capitalism, not 
the United States. The files of Solidarity, their journal, were in- 
discriminate in attack, so that Burleson issued an exclusion order 
without arousing loud protest. The liberals of the left defended 
the right of Socialists to exist; but having to draw a line somewhere 
they left Solidarity outside. What purported to be actions of the 
executive board of the I.W.W. ordered the expulsion of those 
members who joined the armed forces of the United States, 

On the day preceding the departure of the drafted men to camp 
in September, 1917, Charles E. Hughes assured the members of 
the American Bar Association at Saratoga that Congress had 
ample power under the Constitution to protect the country. c The 
power to wage war/ he said, 'is the power to wage it successfully. 5 


On that same day the Department of Justice was putting the final 
touches upon its preparation to strike a blow. At 2 P.M. (C.S.T.) 
on September 5 the local offices of the I.W.W. were raided 
throughout the West. Officers were arrested, papers were im- 
pounded. William D. Hay wood, the president, was picked up in 
Chicago, For seven months the evidence was studied as the 
Attorney-General prepared against more than one hundred 
members, large and small, the case of the United States. The case 
came to trial in the court of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis on 
April 1,1918. As a result, during the weeks when assertive loyalty 
was most intense, each day brought to the press new excerpts from 
the testimony upon which the charges of disloyalty were based. 
The trial dragged out through four months, but it ended as 
abruptly as the raids had been sprung, for the jury came back 
quickly to the courtroom with a verdict of guilty as charged. A 
fortnight later Landis distributed sentences among the hundred, 
according to the degree of their guilt, beginning with twenty years 
at Leavenworth for Haywood. 

Myers of Montana, inspired by the lynching of Little, offered the 
Senate a sedition bill two weeks after the hanging. He proposed 
to eliminate the requirement that the words complained of have a 
provable connection with an overt act, or a provable intent. 
Words that were 'calculated' to 'incite or inflame 3 were for him 
enough to constitute a crime, leaving it to the jury to determine 
whether such was their tendency. He was well ahead of Congress, 
but he renewed his proposal in various forms until at last, in the 
tense spring months of 1918, the Congress was ready to revise the 
law. Meanwhile his own State, with patriotic emotion and in- 
dustrial pressure forcing it on, amended its own criminal statutes. 

The Montana legislature met in February to bring its law down 
to date. In a brief session it gave definition to 'criminal syndical- 
ism' in an act signed by the governor on the twenty-first. On the 
next day Governor Samuel V. Stewart, later to be elevated to the 
supreme court of Montana, signed a sedition law which opened a 
new chapter in American criminal jurisprudence. The Montana 
statute protected the form of government in the United States, 


the Constitution, the flag, the soldiers and sailors and their uni- 
form against 'disloyal, profane., violent, scurrilous, contemptuous, 
slurring, or abusive language ... or any language calculated to 
bring [them] . . . into contempt, contumely, or disrepute.' It did 
all that law could do to take the place of conscience and good 
manners, and it provided a text for debate when Congress, pressed 
by the emergency, prepared to amend the law of the United 

Driven by the rising spirit of intolerant loyalty, guided by an 
Administration anxious both to save the innocent and to convict 
the guilty, held back by a coalition whose recruits were drawn 
equally from the extreme left and the extreme right, Congress 
provided the Department of Justice with two new laws. The first 
was passed easily and signed on April 20. It concerned sabotage, 
the weapon of the syndicalists. American labor had not taken 
kindly to this newest importation from the ideology of European 
class warfare. Among the avowed intentions of syndicalism was 
the expulsion of the capitalist from his plant. Among the methods 
were those of slowing down production and mutilating the product 
until the ownership (5f the plant would have no value and the 
workers might come into possession of it. This was sabotage, an 
industrial weapon which the I.W.W. endorsed as soon as the word 
reached its organization, and with which neither State nor 
Federal law was phrased to cope. When the war raised the possi- 
bility that it might be practiced as a seditious crime, the Attorney- 
General without avail recommended a law to Congress in 1917. 
A year later he reminded Congress that the Government had no 
law under which it could 'prosecute men who attempt to destroy 
factories, munitions, and other stores necessary for our armies. 5 
So distinguished an historian as Albert Bushnell Hart wrote in the 
New York Times to allay the" fear of the nervous that pro-German 
workmen in the bakeries were putting ground glass in the bread. 
The Sabotage Act fixed pains and penalties for the willful injury 
or destruction of war material, or of utilities or tranportation, 
whether public or private. It was a useful law, but it caught small 
fish. The first reported arrest was that of a worker in a factory 


making waterproof cloth for gas masks, a German lad of seventeen, 
who slashed two bolts of cloth. He confessed, asking to be believed 
that his intention was loyal, and avowing that he slashed the cloth 
to symbolize the appearance of Germany when the wearers of the 
masks had done their job. 

If Army opinion had had its way the laws against sedition would 
have been entrusted for enforcement to the hands of military 
authorities and summary processes would have reached ends not 
attainable by jury trials. The section of the General Staff devoted 
to Military Intelligence had a large field over which it operated. 
Counter-espionage was one of its natural duties. The names of 
candidates for commissions in the Army, by tens of thousands, 
were passed through Military Intelligence for investigation of the 
background and loyalty of the applicants. The correspondents and 
agents, necessary for these inquiries, covered the United States 
with a close net, so close that it would not have had to be made 
much closer if the whole matter of sedition had been in hand. 
The files of Military Intelligence never perhaps to be made 
public were filled with names and reckless suspicions. One of 
the assistants of the Attorney-General went so far as to prepare a 
law giving jurisdiction over disloyalty to courts martial, but his 
chief disavowed him and the President wrote explicitly against it. 

Except on the field of actual combat American tradition ran 
contrary to toleration of any courts other than the ordinary civil 
courts of justice. More important than tradition, the Fifth Amend- 
ment guaranteed: 'No person shall be held to answer for a capital, 
or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of 
a Grand Jury/ except within the armed forces. And the Sixth 
Amendment added to this guaranty the promise that c in all 
criminal prosecutions' there should be 'the right to a speedy and 
public trial.' The militant minority which wanted courts martial 
for the citizen faced a hostile majority in Congress, backed up by 
the prospect of a veto should such an act reach the White House. 

The Attorney-General felt that his was the obligation to enforce 
the law, if only Congress would enact it. He believed in the 
effectiveness of his machinery for investigation and discovery. 


In April, 1918, he was receiving and checking 'upward of 1500 
complaints per day' caught In the dragnet operated by the 200,000 
or more voluntary coadjutors whom he had begun to attach to the 
Department of Justice even before war w r as declared. Most of 
the complaints were based on mere suspicion and most of the 
suspicion was unfounded sometimes hysterical, sometimes 
malicious. Enough probable cases w r ere left on his docket to lead 
him to urge Congress to give him more power. A week after the 
lynching of Prager he begged for authority to deal with ^disloyal 
utterances/ and thereby he reinforced the pressure from the 
Government that the Liberty Loan be protected from the luke- 
warm and the malevolent. 

The Sedition Act, not to be signed until May 16, 1918, was 
called up in the Senate on April 4, two days before the Loan 
Drive began. Overman, who had it In charge, urged haste, not 
only to aid the loan, but because The people of this country are 
taking the law in their own hand.' That night, some of them 
lynched Prager. The bill was brief, containing matter that 
Congress had been unwilling to incorporate in the Espionage Act 
a year before. The House had passed it in March without a roll- 
call or a dissenting voice. To support It in the Senate, Myers 
presented from the legislature of Montana a memorial praying for 
a more rigorous punishment of sabotage and sedition with copies 
of the Montana laws of February as models. His colleague Walsh 
explained the route by which Montana came to Its enactment. 
In the District Court, in the case of the United States vs. Hall, the 
Federal judge had spoiled a prosecution, in which disloyal and 
bitter language was admitted, by charging the jury that the act 
committed must have some reasonable connection with ensuing 
event. The defendant had scolded against the war, speaking to 
rural neighbors sixty miles away from a railway. Such behavior, 
however improper in war time, could not be treated as a willful 
attempt to interfere with the operation of any law. The judge con- 
ceded that such language ought to be criminal, but found nothing 
in the Espionage Act to warrant a conviction. 

It was impossible to hurry the Senate, and the course of the drive 


showed that the Liberty Loan needed no protection. Not until 
April 10 did the Senate accept an amended bill. Not until April 
24 did the bill come back from. the conference committee. It was 
May 9 before the House sent it to the White House, and another 
week before it received the approval of the President. 

The debate was harsh, uncovering in the Senate an opposition 
to further increase in the powers of the President, a solicitude for 
free speech, and a disapproval of the Postmaster-General as a 
censor of opinion. Senator William J. Stone, ten days before he 
died, feared that even Joe Cannon might be caught within its 
sweeping prohibition of language disrespectful to the Government, 
for Cannon had told the world why Volunteer swivel-chair war- 
riors wore spurs. 5 It was 'in order that their heels might not slip 
off the desks so easily.' Roosevelt joined the fray. The Associated 
Press had carried, mistakenly, a story that the President was by 
title to be protected against contemptuous language, whereupon 
the ex-President hurried into the Kansas City Star a vigorous editorial 
protesting against anything that might make that office sacred. 
The measure was generally supported by the Northwest Senators 
Jones of Washington, Chamberlain of Oregon, King of Utah, 
and both Myers and Walsh of Montana among whose constitu- 
ents the I.W.W. was a menace. The Senators of Progressive mind 
were generally against it: Johnson of California, Borah of Idaho, 
Norris of Nebraska. In the Senate 46 yeas overrode 26 nays to 
pass the conference report. In the House only Meyer London, 
Socialist, stuck to his nay. 

The final text of the Sedition Act extended the power of the 
United States over speech and opinion, regardless of provable 
resulting consequence. It retained the word 'willfully 5 in the in- 
terest of the culprit who might be brought to trial. But once his 
willful intent to speak or utter was established, it became un- 
necessary to prove any intent to injure or impede or any ability to 
do either. The list of adjectives describing the proscribed language 
was impressive: C disloyal 3 profane, scurrilous, or abusive/ 'Con- 
temptuous' was stricken out in conference. 

The law forbade the abuse of c the form of government of the 


United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the flag 
of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the 
United States. 5 And since the lexicographers of the Senate could 
not agree how sweeping was the meaning of the word 'calculated 9 
(which the Montana law used), they substituted a more definite 
word 'intended 5 ; forbidding language 'intended to bring 5 the pro- 
tected ideas and institutions into 'contempt, scorn, contumely, or 
disrepute.' They gave point to their legislative determination by 
rejecting a safeguard clause advocated by France of Maryland: 

That nothing in this act shall be construed as limiting the 

liberty or impairing the right of any individual to publish or 
speak what is true, with good motives, and for justifiable ends. 

The Department of Justice joined hands with Military Intelligence 
in protesting that the specific guaranty of a right to prove the truth 
of utterances would so impede prosecutions as to destroy the useful- 
ness of the statute. 

Sweeping as it was, "the new clause on dangerous utterance 
aroused less spirited opposition than the new clause enlarging the 
power of the Postmaster-General. This officer was empowered, 
'upon evidence satisfactory to him/ to close the mails to persons 
using them in violation of any provisions of the act. The phrase 
'upon evidence satisfactory to him 5 was old; as old as the lottery 
and fraud laws, under which the control of the mails was used to 
retard the circulation of material injurious to public welfare. The 
Postmaster-General was directed, with no more right of protest 
than he might himself permit, upon such evidence to return to the 
sender as 'undeliverable under espionage act' all mail directed to 
the culprit against whom the evidence might point. He was not 
given the right to examine this mail, or to open it without a search 
warrant, but by returning it unopened he cut off the individual, 
in non-guilty matters as well as in guilty, from postal contacts. 
Hiram Johnson, who had supported in vain the France amend- 
ment, opposed also this extreme administrative privilege. He was 
willing to punish those proved guilty, but he could not reconcile 
with freedom of speech and of the press an administrative ban upon 


free action. The minorities, whether on the left or on the right, 
whether Inspired by conviction or prodded by politics, were 
voted down until finally the Sedition Act became a law. In the 
interest of the war, and driven by an excited opinion out-of-doors 
the majority in Congress pushed aside the sound comment of the 
California Senator: 'There is a difference between refusing a man 
a privilege and holding him responsible if he abuses it.' Modera- 
tion and reason had a hard time with democracy at war. Work or 
fight, established among the agencies of government, reached out 
to control the actions of the mind. 


JL HE Allied Maritime Transport Council, conceived in No- 
vember, 1917, at the conference of the Allies, was formed in 
February, 1918, and met at Lancaster House in London to begin 
business on March 1 1. Its task was to balance the bottoms afloat 
with the tonnage requirements of the enemies of Germany, to 
fix priorities among different kinds of freight, and to uncover and 
bring into use 'concealed 3 tonnage. The only important incre- 
ments in sight were the Dutch ships whose seizure was in train and 
the output of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, on which no 
prudent planner dared to build. The British yards were clogged 
with ships which had been damaged by submarines and required 
emergency repairs. 

The maritime burden had fallen heaviest upon England. 
England not only possessed the lion's share of ships, but also had 
lost more than half the total war losses, whether to the submarine 
or to other war risks. In the month of American entry, April, 
1917 the 'darkest hour, 5 as C. Ernest Fayle has described it 
in Seaborne Trade (1924) the losses through enemy action reached 
for the British a ceiling at 545,282 gross tons out of a total of 
881,027. Prior to this month the accumulated losses had mounted 
to 5s45>3^3 tons 3 of which 3,155,186 had earned the flag of 
the British merchant fleet. It had never been safe to tell the truth 
about the sinkings. The German submarine had nearly fulfilled 
the guaranty of its proponents almost winning the war before 
the Allies managed to set up a defense against it. The monthly 
losses steadily declined after April, 1917, although still in excess 
of monthly replacements. They averaged for Britain alone 265,000 
tons a month during the next year, but April, 1918, was the 


last month in which the British losses ran above 200,000 tons. 
Thereafter, they continued to decline. 

The Council could do little more at its first meeting than gasp 
at the magnitude of its assignment and order the paper work 
upon which it might try to take action when next it could meet. 
When it assembled for a second session, in Paris on April 23, the 
tide was turning. The basic decisions on which depended the 
dimensions of the A.E.F. had been reached. The submarine 
showed signs of being brought within control. There was still 
ahead a race between the sadly depleted maritime equipment of 
the Allies and their increasing requirements which was made 
harder by the certainty that every American soldier who came to 
France would occupy the space of two deadweight tons of freight, 
and would keep perhaps one ton of well-managed shipping busy 
thereafter until the war should end. One of the possibilities was 
that the war would be lost through inability to carry sufficient 
ocean freights, but the future threats against maritime success 
were less those of enemy inteference than those of internal in- 

The decision to fetch an army from the United States, impelled 
by fear that one of the German drives might end the war and 
recorded in the complicated four-cornered negotiations of London, 
Paris, Washington, and Chaumont, was clearly reached by the 
time of the joint note No. 18 which was signed by the Permanent 
Military Representatives on March 28. There was painful lack 
of unanimity as to the way in which the American troops were to 
be used, but the Allies had come round to Pershing's view that 
the war could not be won without them. With the crisis as it was, 
no future need of the Allies could be as great as the need for help 
at once. There were too few ships for what the Allies were sure 
they needed for themselves in order to feed their people or to 
outfit their forces. In the decision to risk future maintenance for 
the sake of immediate reinforcement, England upset all shipping 
schedules in the month between the first and second meetings of 
the Allied Maritime Transport Council. The hope that American 
ships or the commandeered Dutch ships might aid in provisioning 


the Allies was laid aside, since now all shipping from the United 
States must concentrate upon the requirements of the A.E.F. and, 
more than this, out of European tonnage troop and cargo tonnage 
must be diverted to the Atlantic Ferry. When the decision was 
made there was no way of foreseeing that after April, 1918, the 
submarine would be tamed. 

The submarine brought Germany near to victory and filled 
the filing cases of the Allies with gratuitous suggestions of how to 
cope with it. There were no tested naval tactics that could be 
depended on to foil it, and no ready-made precedents in interna- 
tional law to cover and to regiment its use. From the beginning 
of the submarine 'blockade 5 in 1915 until the earliest flotilla of 
American destroyers reached Queenstown in May, 1917, the war 
against the new weapon was one of trial and error mostly error. 
Thence, up to the Armistice, more trial and error brought success, 
without uncovering any certain panacea. In The Victory at Sea 
(1920), Rear- Admiral William S. Sims stressed the secrecy that 
went with the experiments. Tactics on land and the new weapons 
of the war became common property as soon as used. Those of 
the ocean, on it or beneath it, w r ere sometimes so effective that 
neither of the combatants knew 7 the full extent of success or loss. 
And neither told the public what it knew. Even eternal vigilance 
was no guaranty of safety against an enemy who was often invisible 
until after he had struck. 

Most concrete of the American contributions to the defense 
against the submarine, and most impressive as a structure, was 
the North Sea Mine Barrage which had been approved before the 
November conferences. The Navy Bureau of Ordnance was 
secretly at work upon its component parts before Senators began 
to ask embarrassing questions in January. To the lay mind the 
attempt to 'bottle up' the submarines was continuously attractive, 
but the navies knew that whatever could be planted could be 
swept away. The barrages fixed by the British at the Dover Straits 
were repeatedly cleared by the German destroyers while escorting 
submarines to sea. Yet the British kept on replacing the Dover 
mine fields and accepted the American lead in building across 


the northern outlet of the North Sea. Here the first mines were 
not planted until June, 1918, and the task, so far as it was capable 
of being completed, was nearly done by November. What help 
the North Sea Barrage might have rendered after 1918 is beyond 
determination. Its undertaking is evidence of the thoroughness 
of the anti-submarine effort rather than a contribution to victory. 
The barrages and the mine fields were of less importance than the 
endless cruising of destroyers, the depth charges, and the organiza- 
tion of ocean traffic in protected convoys. 

At the Admiralty offices in London, where was concentrated 
the completest information about the submarines, it was known 
from day to day where most of them were at work. Corrected 
each morning, the ocean map told the story. The observations 
made by ships at sea and wirelessed in provided some of the data 
for the map, but since these ships reported in good faith many 
times as many submarines as were ever built their information 
was of greatest use in checking what was already known. The 
best data for plotting the position of the submarines were submitted 
by" the submarines themselves. They persisted in conversing 
with each other by wireless. They made reports to Germany 
almost daily or nightly, when it was safest to rise to the surface 
and lift the antennae masts. And whether British naval intelli- 
gence could decode their messages or not, the direction finders 
made possible a system of triangulation by which the submarine 
gave itself away. Knowing the speed, and hence the possible 
cruising radius of the submarines, it was possible for the Admiralty 
to draw a circle on the map showing the limits within which the 
next day's operations must take place. The circles showed as well 
the hunting grounds for chasers. 

The arming of troop and cargo ships with guns with which 
to repel submarine attack was a measure whose effectiveness 
remains in doubt. A matter of political and diplomatic controversy 
during the period of American neutrality, it became a naval con- 
troversy after entry. It gave to Germany ground for contending 
that the submarine must attack without warning or else run the 
risk of destruction. On many of the merchant ships it was difficult 


to find deck space clear of rigging where naval gun crews could 
have free room to operate. If guns were placed amidships their 
use swung the vessel broadside to the enemy, improving the target. 
If fore and aft, their range was somewhat limited, and their 
presence anywhere aboard was too often a temptation to fight 
the submarine instead of running away. British regulations were 
explicit, directing ships to run when attacked and in no case 
to come to the rescue of another ship in danger from the submarine. 
The American instructions were less explicit; but sound tactics 
were the same. After 1917 the use of convoys placed the burden 
of defense upon agUe little fighting ships built for the work. 
During 19 17, before the convoy system was standardized, four 
American sinkings out of five came from torpedoes that could 
not have been stopped. Yet no possible system of defense could 
be ignored and the Navy armed the ships. 

A dozen merchant ships with gun crews and guns for use against 
illegal submarine attack went to sea between March 13, when 
arming was ordered, and the declaration of war. With six-inch 
guns as the chief reliance, some three hundred and sixty-seven 
merchant ships were similarly equipped during the war. The 
troop transports, which were never seriously attacked, were 
more heavily armed than the cargo ships, but all owed their 
increasing safety to defenses other than their guns. 

The destroyers and chasers were the best means of protection. 
England was working to the limit to guard the approaches to 
Europe when the first six United States destroyers reported for 
duty. By July, 1917, there were thirty-five of them, and the 
Navy was planning for a fleet of chasers that could be fast enough 
to outrace the submarines, quickly built, and constructed out of 
light, stamped plates. Henry Ford took a contract, set up an 
assembling plant at Piver Rouge, launched Eagle I'm July, 1918, 
and promised a fleet of two hundred by February, 1919, with 
unlimited more to follow. But only seven of the Eagle boats had 
received their guns when the Armistice was signed; and so this 
effort joined the long list of enterprises for whose impact against 
the enemy the war was too short. More than four hundred smaller 


ships of other type, chasers of the i lo-foot class, were put to work. 

Much of the loss of merchant shipping could be charged to the 
necessity of England to concentrate the British destroyers as a 
curtain around the Grand Fleet and at the Channel ferries. 
Even England was desperately short of the small craft made un- 
expectedly necessary by the submarine campaign. Neither the 
Grand Fleet nor the Channel transports were got at by the enemy. 
It was sound strategy to let the need of the fleet come first and 
that of the ferry next, but it left merchant shipping as a bad third. 
Until American aid arrived, the approaches to British waters 
from the Atlantic were the scene of a vast guessing game with a 
few submarines on one hand and too few destroyers on the other. 
By the end of 1918 Daniels could report to Congress that Navy 
patrolling ships under the commander in Europe were cruising 
516,000 miles a month; and the tonnage sunk declined steadily 
after April. 

Promiscuous cruising by destroyers and chasers brought an 
element of chance into the guessing game, but left the advantage 
still with the submarines. It was the use of the small craft as 
guards for convoys that made shipping safe. The relative safety 
of the Grand Fleet and the Channel transports, both always 
guarded by destroyers, had pointed to the convoy as the best 
defense even before American entry. Sims pressed the point, 
but its adoption was blocked by the belief of the British merchant 
captains that their ships could not steam in formation suitable for 
convoy. It could be insisted that the speed of the slowest vessel 
must determine the speed of the convoy, with the result of slowing 
down the voyage. Daniels believed that about twenty per cent 
of theoretical efficiency was lost in convoy; but against this, 
the ships were saved. 

Over the disapproval of the merchant captains, England ex- 
perimented with a convoy from Gibraltar in May, 1917, which 
escorting destroyers brought safely into port. A Hampton Roads 
convoy was tried with equal success. The first dozen transports 
carrying the A.E.F. sailed as convoy on June 14 and reached 
St. Nazaire in safety, and, except for the great fast passenger liners 


canning troops, which trusted to their own speed until they 
reached an escort off British shores-, the United States sent its 
men to France on transports and In convoy groups. Eighty-eight 
fleets, averaging a dozen transports, sailed from the United States 
to the war zone, losing no transport on Its way to Europe. Es- 
corted out of American waters and to the edge of the zone by a 
cruiser, the convoys were picked up at prearranged spots by the 
destroyers and zigzagged their way to Brest or St. Nazalre or 

The work of the camouflage artists, widely advertised as a 
device to fool the submarine by lessening visibility and blurring 
the edge of the target, gave a circus aspect to every harbor where 
shipping congregated. Yet it deceived the submarine less than 
did the habit of zigzag cruising. The problem of the submarine 
captain, having sighted his victim, was to identify its course. 
His torpedo moved slowly through the water, often slowly and 
visibly enough to permit maneuvering to escape it. To get the 
course, the simplest method was to cruise ahead of the intended 
victim until its masts came into line and then to lie hidden a little 
to sunward off the course until off its beam. By frequent and 
Irregular changes of direction the convoy upset many of the cal- 
culations, while its enveloping little fleet of destroyers, racing 
around it, made it dangerous for a periscope to break the surface. 

By the spring of 1918 the defenses against the submarine pro- 
duced results. It helped, when in April the exits from the German 
submarine base at Bruges were directly attacked. Zeebrugge was 
closed on April 23, Ostend on May g. Quite as significant was the 
regularization of the convoys. To avoid some of the loss due to 
the uneven speed of ships, the vessels came to be grouped according 
to their ratings. A fast convoy (thirteen to fourteen knots) left 
New York for Liverpool on Its first regular run on April 9, 1918, 
with the convoy committees determined to deliver 140,000 troops 
a month and to increase the capacity of the sixty ships assigned 
them by cutting down the round trip to an average of forty days. 
There were slower convoys, also running on regular schedules, 
out of Halifax, New York, and Hampton Roads. Their schedules 


were so timed that their destroyer escorts could deliver a fleet at 
Dover or Liverpool and instantly pick up a fleet of empties going 
back for more troops and cargoes. Shuttling more rapidly as 
troop ships, the Aquitania, Mauretania, and Olympic, assigned by 
England to the carriage of the A.E.F., and the Leviathan, which 
the Navy had repaired, overtook and passed the convoys. Among 
them they carried more than a division on every turn-around. 

The Navy took much pride in the speed with which it had 
converted into effective carriers the interned German ships 
'completely disabled/ as the German Embassy had overhopefully 
reported to Berlin before Bernstorff left. The sabotage upon them 
had been badly done by wrecking crews who failed to take into 
account the skill of Navy artificers at electric welding. Cylinders 
that had been burst, boilers burned out, connection lines askew, 
set new problems and called for the devising of new techniques. 
Yet twenty of the ships were back on runs before November, 1917, 
and the renamed Vaterland on December 15 sailed with its first 
installment of the nearly 100,000 men it was to take to France. 
Because it could get into Liverpool only at high tide, it was shifted 
in April to the run to Brest. By bunking its men in relays it once 
transported nearly 11,500 on a single trip. 

It is difficult to disentangle the share of credit and responsibility 
for the ocean services due to the British Admiralty, the Navy 
at home, Sims and the Navy overseas, and, in a lesser degree, to 
France. Each had its independent organizations. All were linked 
in co-operation. The Allied Naval Council, reinforced after the 
conference in November, pooled their wisdom. The Allied Mari- 
time Transport Council acquired a specialized job and served it 
after March. The officers and men at sea worked more as in- 
dividuals than Army men could work. But they made a team. 

The assembling, classification, identification, and loading of 
men and stores was a problem in itself, and sometimes it had to 
happen that fodder for Army animals went to Brest with the men, 
and rations for men went to St. Nazaire with the mules. But 
when ships were waiting for cargoes the cargoes that were waiting 
for ships had to go aboard. It was another matter to recruit the 


able-bodied highly able-bodied longshoremen to load and 
unload without delay. Released from Army duty though they 
were, it was not easy to keep them happy. At the British docks 
there was petty trouble when the laborers on night shift clamored 
for access to their beer at midnight and asked why they should be 
inconvenienced by the early-closing law, whereby the c pubs 5 were 
locked when they came off duty. They got their beer. 

The actual navigation of convoys and escorts called for high 
seamanship. Sims pointed with pride to the emergency Navy 
training that converted landlocked college boys into capable 
watch officers and navigators within a few w T eeks. He was equally 
pleased with the work of their professors of physics who took up 
the challenge of underwater listening devices. The latter made it 
possible for the navigator to make a fair guess at the distance and 
direction of an approaching submarine. 

With official title as 'Commander of the U.S. Naval Forces 
Operating in European Waters, 5 William S. Sims had a position 
analogous to that of Pershing 5 yet different in that his degree of 
independence was less and his necessity for co-operation more. 
Daniels declined to agree that Sims, directly under the Secretary, 
was as free from Navy 'channels' as Pershing was from those of 
the War Department and the General Staff, Sims went to England 
as rear-admiral, was at once given temporary rank as vice-admiral, 
and was made temporary admiral only in December, 1918, when 
all was over. Upon his return he reverted to his pre-war rank of 
rear-admiral. A Republican Administration made him Admiral 
of the Navy in 1930, eight years after he had retired. He had a 
restive mouth which even before the war had let escape senti- 
ments inappropriate to be spoken by an important naval officer; 
it continued to be restive after the war, when he engaged in a 
too-free discussion of the Irish and entered into controversy with 
Daniels over war policy. But his skill and his congeniality with 
his British colleagues made him an effective servant of the Ameri- 
can determination to defeat the submarine. 

Sims could not have fought such a fight for a separate command 
as Pershing fought. By naval necessity, the investment of European 


shores was indivisible. He worked under the British or himself 
commanded British forces as occasion required. His American 
units on all the ocean fronts, but most numerous in British waters, 
filled his headquarters with business. He was forced to be an 
admiral whose flagship was a block of 'remodeled dwelling houses 
in Grosvenor Gardens. 3 Yet he had forty-five naval bases under 
his control at the Armistice, all of which he kept in harmony 
with the British Admiralty offices in Whitehall. 

The British Grand Fleet, held together in the North Sea with 
a mission to prevent the German fleet from reaching the high 
seas, was at the heart of the naval strategy of the Allies. Stationed 
there, waiting, in an inaction that irked its men and irritated lay 
critics, it did its work by continuing intact. Its existence was a 
guaranty that the smaller craft could do their share. Sims con- 
tributed to its strength. A squadron of five American battleships, 
under Hugh Rodman, was as much a part of the Grand Fleet as 
any of Pershing's divisions while fighting with the British or the 
French was part of the army with which it was associated. But 
there could be no intention of withdrawing them, since they 
would be helpless if alone and their effectiveness lay in their rein- 
forcement of the British strength. In addition to this squadron, 
three American dreadnaughts were kept on emergency station 
off the southwest coast of Ireland, at Berehaven, to be ready in 
case a naval disaster in the North Sea permitted the escape of 
the German dreadnaughts or the emergence of any powerful 
raiding vessel. 

The naval mission of the Allies was to prevent the enemy from 
provisioning himself, to keep his High Sea Fleet from doing 
damage, and to keep the sea lanes open for the supplies of the 
Allies and of the American reinforcement. Had this reinforce- 
ment continued to be only what was envisaged in April, 1917 
a reinforcement in money and supplies both the merchant 
tonnage and the power of naval defense of the Allies might still 
have been insufficient. The submarine at that time appeared to 
have established a control. As this control was progressively 
broken by an improving organization of Allied strength and by 


American assistance, the Allies postponed defeat without much 
improving the guaranty of victory. Replacements could not 
repair the damage done or even make good the continuing new 
losses. Without the foodstuffs and military supplies that must be 
brought across the seas, the Allies could not maintain either their 
home populations or their armies In the field. Without an Ameri- 
can military reinforcement It seems probable that the Allies must 
have lost their war. 

Yet this reinforcement of their strength on the line of battle 
made every aspect of Allied supply more difficult to manage. 
There was no increase In effective merchant tonnage; what the 
United States Shipping Board promised was not delivered before 
the Armistice. Upon what was left of merchant tonnage, as of 
April, 1917, fell the additional burden of moving American troops 
and keeping them fed and armed. It was possible by strong-arm 
work upon the neutrals to get access to some of their shipping, 
but neutrals were squeezed in such a way that, yielding to pres- 
sure from one side, they were likely to experience retaliation from 
the other. Before American entry England began to coerce the 
Continental neutrals by cutting off their supply of bunker coal 
at British coaling stations unless they carried freights and served 
ports agreeable to England. The danger of destruction by sub- 
marines or at the mine fields impelled the neutrals to keep their 
ships at home. Their vital need for coal and food forced them to 
make some sort of terms with the Allies, although there was always 
danger of armed intervention from Germany. Sweden, Denmark, 
and the Netherlands, most threatened by this intervention, were 
slowest in yielding to Allied pressure. After the organization of 
the War Trade Board the United States joined in exerting the 
pressure, as whole-heartedly as though the United States as 
neutral had not resented it. But the neutral ships, chartered, 
coerced, or commandeered, met only a fraction of the Allied 

Every American soldier put on the line put as well a permanent 
burden on the ocean trade. It took only simple arithmetic to 
compute the tonnage, sorely needed for Allied use, that must be 


kept busy on A.E.F. supply when there should be a million 
Americans in France, or two millions, or even more. If each 
American required fifty pounds of overseas freight per day (and 
the requirement was not far from this), the first million would 
pre-empt twenty-five thousand deadweight tons per day for 
American use alone. The curves of requirement, when the 
statisticians superimposed them upon the curves of Allied neces- 
sity and the sagging curves of tonnage in hand, pointed to a 
moment when ocean supply would collapse, inadequate. If 
Germany should not have broken down before the war reached 
this moment, the war was lost. So many different factors 'won 
the war' that it is invidious to single out any one for emphasis; 
yet it is certain that on the Atlantic Ferry was fought as critical a 
battle as any fought on land. 

It was late in the autumn of 1917 before the War Department 
quite realized that it had been committed by Pershing to the 
delivery of twenty-four divisions, which with supporting troops 
would make a round million, by the end of June, 1918. Three 
months later, when the great drive opened March 21, there were 
in Europe only five divisions that could by any stretch of the 
imagination be regarded as ready for the front. The Allied dis- 
trust of an American army that should be a 'separate component' 
was so great that the British Government had not ventured to 
endanger the endurance of England by diverting tonnage to 
the carriage of the A.E.F. 

Pershing was clearer in his mind about what he wanted than 
was the War Department about what it could accomplish or 
what could be shipped. Immediately upon laying down his 
scheme for a headquarters organization in France, Pershing had 
in July, 1917, demanded his million. To this, the War Department 
replied with an estimate of maximum possibility, which comprised 
twenty-one divisions (small divisions of 20,000 rather than the 
larger divisions of 28,000 which Pershing specified and finally 
obtained) and a grand total of 634,975 men by the middle of 
June. In addition to the First Division, its schedule of shipment 
provided for some 288,000 men to be floated before March i. 





Je Jy Au Se Oc Xo De 

Ja Fe Ma Ap My 













26 26 26 26 

26 28 26 26 26 






42 42 

42 42 42 42 42 






32 32 32 32 






'Combat divisions,* of which. 







twenty-nine saw active service 

5 5 






77 77 















































































































Six depot, training, or re- 41 

41 41 41 41 41 






placement divisions 



















Seven late divisions; broken up 



and reassigned 










* Table based on War College handbook, Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the 
World War, American Expeditionary Forces (1931); Leonard P. Ayres, The War with Germany (1919). 


There was no certainty that tonnage for so many as this could be 
assembled by the United States or borrowed from Great Britain. 
But the War Department substantially fulfilled this portion of 
its estimate when before March i it had shipped 291,000 men. 

Despite the reluctance of the War Department to promise more 
than it could hope to fulfill, Pershing continued to hope. In 
October his 'shipping schedule No. i' contained the order of 
shipment of the components for a force of thirty divisions, gross- 
ing 1,328,448 men, whom he asked to have in hand before the 
next July. He asked for more than he expected to receive, and 
each month when his receipts came up only to his expectations 
he allowed himself to be a little disappointed in the War Depart- 
ment. After he had attended the November conference and had 
conversed with the chiefs of staff, Bliss, Robertson, and Foch, he 
wired Washington of the 'utmost importance 5 of having at his 
disposal by the end of June 'twenty-four divisions, in addition to 
the troops for the service of the rear. 5 He was immediately in- 
volved in bargaining with the British for ships, and in fighting 
off their attempt to get mere man-power in exchange for tons. 
And when whispers of the bargains reached the French, they 
showed grievance and demanded man-power for themselves. 
His army in sight continued to be depressingly small, while his 
conviction grew that without a great American army the war 
must be lost. 

The flow of troops was accelerated in March. No more than 
twenty-seven transports had carried troops from the United 
States in any month before March, but in that month there were 
forty-five, with more than 85,000 troops aboard. The tables of 
Vice-Admiral Albert Cleaves, who commanded the convoy 
operations and recorded them in A History of the Transport Service 
(1921), account for 2,079,880 in the American personnel taken 
overseas before the Armistice. Eighty-two per cent of these 
were convoyed by the Navy; forty-three per cent were carried 
in ships of the United States. The record of March, 1918, seventy 
per cent better than that of any preceding month, was broken by 
the April total of 120,000 men; and April was left behind by 


each of the next six months, with top figures of 31 1,359 in July 5 
and a monthly average of 263,000. The Allies, driven to find the 
ships by their fear of defeat, did not give up their hope that they 
could drive or bargain Pershing from his contention that he would 
command the men. But once the ships were found, the army 

The Atlantic Ferry had fetched most of the components of the 
First Army Corps before the German drive began in March. 
Major-General Hunter Liggett, who had organized on the West 
Coast the 4ist Division which was arriving in France between 
November and February, was given command of the First Army 
Corps In January. He proceeded with the organization work 
necessary in anticipation of the time when the corps should com- 
plete its training and take the field. It was July before this time 
arrived and his command became tactical as well as administrative; 
meanwhile it remained administrative over such of Its troops as 
were not specifically under French command. Six divisions were 
In theory allotted to an army corps, and sometimes a corps had 
that many; but It took more than divisions to make a corps. 
There were also c corps troops/ not a part of any division, but at- 
tached to corps headquarters to be used directly under the corps 
commander. Most prominent among these were air service, 
artillery, engineers, medical, and signal troops, and a little cavalry. 

The tables of organization, printed In Order of Battle of the 
United States Land Forces in the World War (1931, 1937)5 make it 
possible to determine with considerable accuracy where divisions 
and smaller units were at work from day to day, but the com- 
manders of division or of corps rarely knew of what their com- 
mands consisted until they saw the day's table of strength. De- 
tachments, transfers, and replacements were such as progressively 
broke down the entity of units, and approached an ideal of inter- 
changeability of parts for the whole A.E.F. 

Basic for the First Army Corps was the 4ist Division, which 
never fought as such. Its fighting units were used as needed, but 
the headquarters organization was kept near the Loire, a little 
east of Tours. Troops poured into it from the docks of St. Nazaire 


and Brest. It did depot duty, maintained a reservoir from 
which men and units were dispatched toward the front and kept 
its fluid personnel busy with drill and instruction through the 
interval between arrival in France and allocation to duty. If 
divisions had come as divisions, ready to be sent immediately to 
the training areas around Chaumont and Neufchateau, its duties 
would have been lessened. But men came in large numbers, 
ascribed to non-divisional tasks, or simply as 'casuals. 5 They 
must be trained and sorted out before they could go forward. 
After fighting began, there were continual calls for replacements. 

Grouped around the St. Aignan area, where the 4ist was 
stationed, were numerous service establishments, halfway between 
the ports and the front. Tours, itself, was made headquarters of 
the whole Services of Supply in March, 1918. Northeast was 
Blois, where officers were sorted out. If they came as casuals, 
here they remained until work was found them. If they proved 
inadequate at the front, hither they were sent to wait until some 
different task was found, or until, not needed, they were returned 
to the United States. A little east was Gievres, rapidly becoming 
a huge warehouse center. Southeast was Issoudun, where the 
aircraft schools were concentrated. 

The combat divisions, sufficient for the initial set-up of the 
First Army Corps, were all on hand by March. Beginning with 
the ist and sd Divisions, whose units were not assembled as 
divisions until after their arrival in France, the First Army Corps 
received also the 26th (New England National Guard), the 32$ 
(Michigan and Wisconsin National Guard), and the 42d (Rainbow) 
Divisions. Describing the divisions as Regular Army or Na- 
tional Guard, which was somewhat misleading from the first, 
became deceptive within a few weeks after the opening of head- 

The Army scheme, contemplating the use of troops derived in 
three ways, included sixteen divisions in which were to be grouped 
the partly trained militiamen of the National Guard. It was 
sought to bring the National Guard regiments to full strength by 
voluntary enlistment before the Selective Service men were sent 


to camp. After the National Guard had been distributed among 
Its sixteen divisions and these, on August 5, 1917, had been drafted 
m masse Into the Army of the United States, It was determined to 
form a seventeenth division, known as the 42d 5 to go to France 
earlier than any of the rest and to join the Regular Army ist and 
ad. This was announced August 14, the 42 d Division being com- 
prised of selected units from twenty-six States, all presumably 
more advanced in their training than the rest of the Guards- 

There were recently enlisted raw recruits, in all of the units, 
whether In name from the Guard or the Regulars. There were so 
many. Indeed, that certain of the units looked like awkward 
squads when they reached France and none of them were Instantly 
ready for the front. Even their officers included quotas of second 
lieutenants fresh from the Officers' Training Camps. They were 
not professional soldiers, whatever they were called. 

There was even more dilution of the pre-war trained soldiers 
than that Involved in new recruits and training-camp officers. 
As the divisions were headed toward Hoboken and the Embarka- 
tion Service they were rarely of full strength. Their ranks were 
filled to something resembling strength by drafts drawn upon 
other divisional camps, not yet ready to sail. It was a heart- 
breaking experience for divisional commanders to have their 
ranks repeatedly depleted in order to meet such levies and to 
have to start anew upon the training of men inducted under the 
Selective Service. At least a quarter of the men who sailed in 
National Guard divisions came to them through the draft. What- 
ever character the divisions started with was weakened by the 
scrambling process. 

The ist Division^ whose people were both flattered and em- 
barrassed by its designation as the 'nursery of the High Com- 
mand/ set up its headquarters in the Gondrecourt training area, 
within striking distance of both Chaumont and Neufchateau, in 
mid-July. This was a month after sailing. The division suffered 
endless losses as officers and men were set to other tasks than 
that of training, but it managed, alone among the twenty-nine 


combat divisions, substantially to complete its period of training 
according to schedule. 

It was hoped that divisions might be seasoned by at least three 
months of experience in France before they were sent to the front. 
The schedule provided for a month of drill as division, after ar- 
rival, while officers and men were getting used to France. There 
was a second month planned to be spent in training with the 
French, for which purpose the division was broken into small 
groups. A third month was assigned to training as a reassembled 
division. And after this the division was expected to be ready for 
introduction to actual war on a quiet front under its own officers. 

Participation in combat began for the A.E.F. when on October 
21, 1917, the earliest battalions of the ist Division moved into 
the line of the French army, on the Sommerviller sector, north- 
east of Luneville. Pershing has described them as short of winter 
clothing, rolling kitchens, horses, and officers. Out of the line at 
the end of November, they resumed divisional training at Gondre- 
court, changed commanding officers, and found themselves 
operating a sector on the south face of the St. Mihiel salient on 
February 5, under the command of Major-General Robert L. 
Bullard. Here they were kept until, after Pershing had placed 
his force at the disposal of Foch on March 28, they were shifted 
to the Montdidier front. 

The 2d Division, only less than the ist, was a training school. 
Its organization was directed in September, 1917, after the draft 
men had begun to report to camp and while its component units 
were variously in the United States or in France. Some of the 
Marine Corps men (the 5th and 6th regiments of which were to 
constitute its 4th infantry brigade) had gone to France with the 
first convoy. Its divisional headquarters were assembled in France 
in October, and in January its divisional training was well under 
way. The German drive in March found the %d Division brigaded 
with the French on the west face of the St. Mihiel front. There 
was reason in training the divisions on the quiet sectors east of 
Verdun, and special reason in permitting them to serve on the 
faces of St. Mihiel; for the elimination of this German salient had 


already been ticketed as the first independent assignment of the 
A.E.F., when there should be an army. 

Third in seniority of the divisions of the First Army Corps, 
which Pershing could offer to Foch in March, was the 26th, which 
Major-General Clarence R. Edwards commanded. Edwards had 
had thirty-four years of service in the Army, had been long in 
Washington at the head of the Bureau of Insular Affairs, and was 
in command of the Northeastern Department (headquarters in 
Boston) when assigned to the division. The division was never 
together in the United States but was shipped in fragments from 
Montreal, New York, Hoboken, and Newport News. Its roster 
was unusually free from men acquired by transfer, and it was at 
sea before draft men were available at the National Army camps. 
It began to arrive in September, was trained in the Neufchateau 
area, and on February 5, when the ist Division received its own 
sector, the 2 6th moved in with the French along the Chemin des 
Dames, northw r ard from Soissons. Its historian for most of the 
divisions and many smaller units have historians of considerable, 
though uneven, merit admits that its men still had many of 
the tricks of war to be learned, 'from calculating fire data to 
burying garbage. 3 But he speaks with enthusiasm of the French 
troops of liaison under whose experienced eyes every activity was 
conducted at the start. The division was historical-minded enough 
to save and send back for preservation in Massachusetts the case 
from which its artillery fired its first shell on the afternoon of 
February 5. On April 3 it replaced the ist Division at St. Mihiel, 
when the ist was sent to Montdidier. 

Much as all the divisions tended through interchange to become 
alike, there was a difference between those derived from the 
National Guard and those assembled in the Regular Army. 
Some of this was in the matter of junior officers. In the Regular 
divisions the lieutenants and many of the captains were Training 
Camp men, who did not pretend to know the art of war, and who 
took counsel avidly from the Regular officers who commanded 
them. The Regular officers whom they saw most had commonly, 
up to April, 1917, at least, been in the grades they occupied them- 


selves, because war expansion resulted in the speedy elevation of 
the Regulars one, two, or three grades above their peace-time 
rank. It is to be borne in mind that throughout the months of 
American participation every officer, from Pershing down, was 
trying to function in a rank for which peace had not fully pre- 
pared him and that only the rigorous activity of the Inspector- 
General's force kept inexperience from doing damage. 

The junior officers in such a division as the 26th were earnest 
amateur soldiers, many of them with years of service in the 
National Guard. Their units, some with a military past extending 
to the Revolutionary War, had an esprit based upon tradition, 
local residence, and sometimes social standing. Among them there 
was an undercurrent of resentment at a military policy which 
broke down local connection and which appeared to be based on 
a belief that National Guardsmen could never be more than 
amateurs. The long legislative struggle to fit the organized militia 
into a scheme of national defense had left scars on both sides. 
The draft of the National Guard, effective August 5, had destroyed 
the Guard. Its personnel retained a recollection of long service, 
but in the Army of the United States they had no history prior 
to induction. 

Before the 2 6th was ready for the front its officers had come to 
feel that Regular officers were prejudiced against them, and that 
the cards were stacked. When, in the midst of the Argonne 
fighting, Edwards was relieved of his command and a brigadier- 
general froixi the ist Division replaced him, a long post-war con- 
troversy was started in which the grievances of the National 
Guard had a field day. It was Army policy, when vacancies oc- 
curred among the officers, whether from death or transfer, to fill 
only a few of them by promotions from below. In a great army, 
with uneven incidence of vacancies, it would have produced great 
unevenness of rewards had the officer below invariably gone up. 
But the 26th felt that too many of the vacancies were filled by 
new officers transferred to the division and inferior to the juniors 
over whom they took command. Too many of the Guard officers, 
for their happiness, were allowed to end the war in the rank in 


which they entered It. Too many others, because of proficiency 
In some civil craft, were sent away to work behind the lines at 
what were essentially civilian duties, even though performed 
by men In uniform. They ran the railroads, and the camp utili- 
ties, the laundries and the warehouses. Better men than they., 
indeed Regular officers unfortunate enough to be skillful 
were taken from jobs at the front to serve the rear or to return 
to the United States to train recruits. The Chief of Artillery, 
A.E.F., March, was sent home to be Chief of Staff; the Chief of 
Staff of the A.E.F., Harbord, w r hom Pershing seems to have 
regarded as his best, was sent back to Tours to run the Services of 
Supply. But the Guardsmen, prepared to be unhappy with the 
Regulars, based their complaints upon the rapid promotions 
accruing to Regular officers, particularly from the ist Division. 

In the American scheme, the direction of a fighting army must 
be In the hands of the professional officers found in the army at 
the beginning of the war. This sets up an unavoidable conflict 
between the officer caste and the mature and accomplished 
civilians who have taken commissions of their own volition. 
The belief In deliberate discrimination sharpened the grievance. 

The Rainbow Division, fourth to arrive, followed the 2 6th to 
France. Its personnel included Charles P. Summerall and Douglas 
MacArthur, both destined after the war to become Chief of Staff. 
Its first commander, Major-General William A. Mann, although 
on the verge of retirement, assembled it at Camp Mills and brought 
it overseas. Major-General Charles T. Menoher, who succeeded 
him, had risen from colonel to major-general in a few months, 
and was to rise farther, for in November he was shifted to com- 
mand of the Sixth Army Corps, in the Second Army. The ^d 
was brigaded with the French near Luneville, until at the end 
of March it relieved a French division in the line, taking over the 
Baccarat sector as its own. 

It was not allowed to be known while the divisions were training 
in the camps In the United States what use would be made of them 
overseas. But it was known at Chaumont. Here it was early 
decided that the first four divisions to arrive should be groomed 


for combat; that the fifth, which proved to be the 41st, should be 
assigned to odd jobs around the depots, and that the sixth should 
be kept in the immediate rear of the front to hold replacements 
for the First Army Corps. When, in February, 1918, the units of 
the 32d Division came in by way of Liverpool and Le Havre, they 
came prepared to fight, only to learn that their destiny was dif- 
ferent. They were the sixth to arrive. 

Some of the regiments of the Michigan and Wisconsin National 
Guard were still near the Mexican Border when the forces of these 
States were merged in the ssd Division and assembled at Camp 
MacArthur, near Waco, Texas. The first commander, Parker, 
was soon shifted to Battle Creek, Michigan, to train the Michigan 
and Wisconsin draft men in the 85th Division at Camp Custer. 
His successor, Major-General William G. Haan, rescued the 
32d from its fate as non-combat division only by convincing 
Chaumont that it was fit to fight. It had been equipped to sail 
only by stripping the less happy 33d (Illinois National Guard, at 
Camp Logan, near Houston) of its 'ordnance, and all its over- 
seas supplies,' and of its reserves of clothing. It served for a few 
weeks as replacement, losing meanwhile a Wisconsin regiment 
that was filtered into the ist Division; but after the crisis of March 
21 it was redesignated for combat. By the middle of June, Haan 
was in tactical command of a sector of his own, facing Mulhouse, 
at the extreme right of the front in Alsace. First of the divisions 
to get on German soil, its men had an advantage over most, in 
that German was for many of them a second tongue. Its divisional 
performance was a rebuttal of the German belief that Americans 
of German parentage were still a reliance for the Fatherland. 

When Pershing went to Foch on March 28 offering his divisions, 
the Atlantic Ferry was still working only as though there was no 
real intention to bring a fighting army to France. The ist Divi- 
sion, alone, had been tested on a sector of its own. The 2d, 26th, 
and 42d were still learning how to behave on quiet sectors, under 
their French tutors. The 32d had not escaped its destiny as a 
replacement division; three of its infantry regiments had been 
detached from it before it took station at Prauthoy, in Haute- 


Marne; and It lost seven thousand men as replacements during 
March, Including its fourth infantry regiment, which It lost for- 
ever. When Pershlng believed he had four divisions ready to 
fight, and a fifth nearly ready, he was more sanguine than were 
the French officers who had watched them train. These had ad- 
mired the spirit of the men and the energy of the new officers, 
while marveling at their Initial Ignorance. The new men coming 
were progressively less well trained, for the confusion in American 
camps, caused by repeated transfers back and forth and repeated 
drafts of divisional men for special services, was breaking up 
programs of Instruction as fast as they were planned. No one of 
the divisions in France had undertaken an Independent action, 
worked out by its own staff and directed by Its own commander. 
Service on quiet sectors good service, which the French Intelli- 
gence officers praised in their reports was different from Inde- 
pendent action. Six days after offering the divisions as they were, 
Pershlng went to Beauvais. 

He left Beauvais not quite sure that Bliss had not let him down 
by agreeing to joint note No. 18, and that President Wilson had 
not deserted him by accepting the British interpretation of its 
recommendation. To Allies, who could see how slowly the divi- 
sions were arriving, it seemed ridiculous to wait for American 
man-power until Pershing's craving for divisions, army corps, 
and army should be gratified. They had information from every 
level of the American effort. Their officers in the American 
camps described the confusion prevailing in many of them. Other 
officers with A.E.F. troops after arrival reported on their rawness 
and the unevenness of their equipment. The liaison officers knew 
nearly as much about Pershmg's force as Pershlng knew. There 
was more than mere delay involved, for there was no certainty 
that the staff work at Chaumont would be good enough for the 
safe direction of an army once in action. But whatever rumors 
came through to Pershing from Washington, no orders came 
directing him either to surrender his men or to give up his idea 
of a separate component. Baker left him on April 7 to sail for 
home 3 leaving him still in complete command, and stating ex- 


plicitly that neither the British nor the French were to get c an 
exaggerated idea 3 that the transport arrangements were to provide 
means c by which their losses will be made up in the future. 5 
Pershing went to London for a conference with Lord Milner on 
April 24. 

If the Allies thought the American commander was too stub- 
born, Pershing was convinced that they were c at last thoroughly 
alive' and that America was their reliance.' Just as the ist 
Division moved to its station near Montdidier, he pressed Foch 
to name the day when the six divisions might operate as a corps 
and found the Generalissimo ready to accept in principle but un- 
able to fix a time or place. When., during the next few weeks, it 
became possible that the accelerated divisions (nine reached 
France in May) might end by reinforcing the British, it became 
easier to persuade the French that Pershing ought to have his way. 
A separate army would fight on the French front, whereas a 
brigaded army would stiffen only the British lines. At the London 
conference Pershing concluded with Lord Milner the details re- 
specting the shipment of the May divisions and the degree upon 
which the British, behind whom they were to train, might rely 
upon them as a reinforcement. He was met, in conference, by 
the British interpretation of joint note No* 18, but he clung to his 
power of command despite the 'heavy "verbal artillery" ' that 
was turned upon him. 

At Abbeville, where the Supreme War Council held its fifth 
meeting on the first of May, it was apparent that the Council, 
as a technical co-ordinating agency, was breaking up. Its diplo- 
matic aspect, given it by the ministers, was cle.arer than ever before. 
The Permanent Military Representatives were falling into the 
background, since the personal staff of Foch was doing their work. 
The Executive War Board, upon which they had had an institu- 
tional existence, was abolished. By common consent the principal 
tasks of this session were to weigh the relative disadvantage of a 
loss of the Channel ports as against the breaking of the Western 
Front by German penetration, to expedite American arrivals, 
to reconcile the rivalry of France and England for the use of 


American troops while training them, and to work on Pershlng. 
Despite pressure from Clemenceau and David Lloyd George that 
the May agreement giving preference to infantry and machine 
gunners be extended through June, Pershlng declined to commit 
himself, Washington he thought, had already yielded too much. 
He refused to let the Council dictate his course. 

The bitterness of the struggle for his power of command, not 
publicly sensed while the war was on, was first clearly displayed 
after the close of the Washington conference in 1922, when George 
Pattullo published his papers on c The Inside Story of the A.E.F.* 
in the Saturday Evening Post. When Pershing retold the tale in the 
chapters of My Experiences serialized by the New York Times In the 
spring of 1931, he quoted freely from the record of the Abbeville 
session and said something about striking the table to emphasize 
the point he made. Upon assembling the articles in book form, 
he edited the table-thumping out of the text; but its spirit is as 
of the record. To Foch's point-blank question whether, holding 
to his Independence, he w r as willing to let the line be backed down 
to the Loire, he answered, 'Yes, I am willing to take the risk. 5 
In one of the most intelligent critiques of the A.E.F., It Might 
Ham Been Lost (1929), Thomas C. Lonergan measured the sig- 
nificance of Pershing's decision, and the burden there would have 
been upon him had the venture failed. That it succeeded in the 
way It succeeded was largely due to Pershing's insistence. 

They ended at Abbeville in an agreement that through June 
the May shipments, at least, should be continued, and that the 
matter of shipments in July should be considered later in the 
light of conditions as they might then exist. They agreed, as 
well, that an American army should be formed as early as pos- 
sible under its own commander and under its own flag.' 

The events of May shook the Allies again. After holding off 
defeat in March, at Amiens, and in April, in Flanders, they faced 
Its possibility once more when Germany poured down in May and 
broke the line along the Chemin des Dames. When the Supreme 
War Council met on June i to take its inventory and make its 
plans, the German advance was at Chateau-Thierry on the 


Marne. It was c the very crisis of the war,' wrote Bliss, who had 
time to put himself on paper since most of his business as Perma- 
nent Military Representative had been drawn from beneath him. 
The British and French found themselves in too warm a contro- 
versy over the cause of the French collapse along the Ghemin des 
Dames to give undivided attention to Pershing. They even agreed 
with him that the character of the American troops was not a 
proper concern of the Supreme War Council, but was suitable for 
consideration 'outside the Council' by the persons most involved. 
They listened to his statement of the embarrassment caused to 
President Wilson by hearing through the British and French am- 
bassadors in Washington 'representations' on matters that were 
proper to be settled directly between himself and Foch. Upon 
this, Foch urged him to ask of Washington an army of one hundred 
divisions, combat troops, to be forwarded at the rate of 300,000 
men per month. The June agreement was, in substance, ex- 
tended over July, but since it committed only 140,000 troops, and 
311,359 were actually floated, it was no longer a serious interfer- 
ence with the plans of the A.E.F. 

The ministers of the Allies, and Foch himself, were discouraged; 
but Pershing left the Council on June 3 not dissatisfied the 
Atlantic Ferry had come to life. This was the last important meet- 
ing of the Supreme War Council until the very end, when armistice 
terms came into sight. The July meeting, which Pershing at- 
tended only because of a personal urging by Lloyd George, was 
concerned with marginal matters. Troop shipment agreements 
were now settled elsewhere. Pershing had in hand work more 
important than any the Council could put on its agenda. On the 
third of June his divisions were on the line at the very tip of the 
German salient, at Chateau-Thierry. And on the twenty-eighth 
of May his ist Division had been tested at Cantigny and had 
proved itself. 


/ANTIGXY was not featured in the Guide to the American Battle 
Fields in Europe (1927). That convenient handbook for the patri- 
otic tourist prepared by the American Battle Monuments Com- 
mission, to which General Pershing gave many years of service 
after withdrawing from more active duties allowed it only one 
page out of the many which were devoted to the field activities of 
the fighting troops. As the war went, it was a trifling encounter. 
Cantigny was just another town. But as a test of quality its capture 
was undertaken by the staff of the ist Division, and was watched 
by solicitous officers from Chaumont and by the various Allied 
officers of liaison. On May 29, w T hen it was of the past and the 
division was consolidating the fragment of new line it had estab- 
lished, there was no longer any question whether American troops 
could fight or whether civilians in uniform could be taught some- 
thing of the technique of command. Major-General Hunter 
Liggett, in administrative charge of the division, since he com- 
manded the First Army Corps, wrote about it in Commanding an 
American Army: Recollections of the World War (1925). Cantigny was, 
he said, c the first cold foreboding to the German that this was not, 
as he had hoped, a rabble of amateurs approaching.' 

Within a week the Allied argument against a separate American 
army began to shift. Beneath it thus far had been the assumption,, 
not always masked, of American incapacity except under Allied 
lead. Now entered the note that the fine fresh soldiers were so 
great an inspiration to the wearied Allied troops as to make them 
invaluable to boost the effort. It suited Pershing to magnify the 
usefulness of his force, although he had no delusion as to the 
miEtary significance of one village. It suited the Allies as well to 


advertise the fact that Americans were on hand and could be used. 
It has been rumored that German orders directed immediate 
recapture of whatever Americans should gain, lest news of prowess 
should penetrate the censorship. A prompt communique let the 
United States know in the morning papers of the twenty-ninth that 
on the Picardy front, a little west of Montdidier, a village had been 
taken, and was held. 

The region around Montdidier, at the tip of the Somme salient, 
became a quiet front when the German drive slowed down at the 
end of March. The ist Division was shifted hither in April to 
relieve French troops, and to build up a nucleus in reserve for an 
Allied counter-stroke which Foch was never able to advance 
beyond the stage of contemplation. Near the end of April, he 
slipped the infantry into the line opposite Cantigny, where Bullard 
received command of a sector on the twenty-seventh. Facing the 
division, the German holders of the village not much more 
than a crossroads sat on a low plateau, with an uncomfortably 
clear vision of the American line and with their own artillery and 
services well masked behind them. In the middle of May the 2d 
infantry brigade did a week of service on the line, after which its 
28th regiment (the regiments in the Regular Army divisions 
retained their old Army numeration) passed to the rear to rehearse 
on selected ground, in full scale, the task assigned it. It was back in 
line in time for 'H-hour 5 at 5.45 A.M., on the morning of May 28. 
With French artillery covering the assault, the occupation of 
Cantigny was complete and successful in time for early breakfast. 
There were seven different and unsuccessful German attempts, 
within the next day or two, to reoccupy the village. The victors 
held their position, widened their sector, built up its systematic 
defenses, and remained in place until they passed back to the rear 
on July 8. Petain cited the regiment. Hanson E. Ely, its colonel, 
rose to command his own division, the 5th. Beaumont B. Buck, 
the brigade commander, rose to the 3d. Bullard, divisional 
commander, received the Second Army. It is possible to mini- 
mize the significance of the enterprise, though without destroying 
its value as a symbol, by stressing the preoccupation of the German 


forces In the larger venture to which they devoted themselves the 
day before Cantigny became a station on the line of the Allies, 

Battle was expected somewhere, sometime. In May. The first 
German attempt, In the Sornme, the second In Flanders, made 
certain a third, because the German determination to break the 
Allied line was not doubted. The investigations from the German 
side s since 1918, have confirmed this. Where the next thrust would 
come, and when, were kept from the knowledge of Foch. Few 
maneuvers of the war were more perfectly concealed than those 
connected with the German concentration of forces north of a 
line that might be drawn from Gompiegne, through Solssons, and 
east to Reims. The Intelligence officers of the A.E.F. diagnosed 
German intentions and were right enough, but their contribution 
was disregarded at French headquarters. The valley of the Alsne, 
which runs westwardly through Solssons to Compiegne, was in 
French hands. North of that valley, parallel to it, the rough 
heights of the Chemin des Barnes were too rough to be taken easily 
from the Allies. They commanded too good a view of their own 
northern slopes, of the Ailette at their foot and of the German 
center across the Ailette at Laon, to be easily surprised. Tired 
divisions had been parked there to recuperate, including five of 
British troops wearied and torn by the battles of the early spring. 
Newspaper strategists in the American press discussed the impend- 
ing attack, studied their maps of France to pick the spot, and fore- 
cast it for any other place than where it struck. 

But on the early morning of May 27 the heights of the Chemin 
des Dames and the slopes behind It, down to the Aisne, were 
drenched with gas and enveloped in German artillery fire that 
cleared the way for infantry. The batteries came from nowhere, 
unknown until they spoke. The infantry came from nowhere, 
brought up at night and kept deceitfully under cover by day. 
The aircraft photographs had not discovered the concentration. 
Rushing across the Chemin des Dames, meeting little resistance 
because little that could resist was left, the Germans reached the 
Aisne itself before noon; and before sundown the advance was 
heading for the Vesle, which runs through Reims to enter the 



Aisne, above Soissons, from the south. On a front of about forty 
miles the Allied line was penetrated some twelve miles on the 
first day; penetrated so easily that the Germans fell over them- 
selves, missing chances to penetrate more deeply and more 
widely. Yet they were ready on the second day, along the Vesle, 
midway between Reims and Soissons, to continue the advance. 
The second day w r as as dreary for the Allies as the first had been. 
On the third, with the German left washing around the fortifica- 
tions of Reims these held the German right enveloped and 
occupied Soissons, wiiile the center pushed the tip of the salient 
past Fere-en-Tardenois, where the French railroads met and 
where were great dumps of supplies. On the fourth day of the 
drive. May 30, the center crossed the ridge north of the Marne and 
could look down upon Chateau-Thierry and Dormans, and the 
rail and highway systems which follow the Marne and constitute 
the great east road to Metz. 

It was again no time for Pershing to stand upon his dignity. 
The German gain was greater than the High Command had 
anticipated. As the troops at the tip of the salient raced ahead, the 
plan of battle was developed in accordance with the gains. Since 
Reims resisted, the armies pushed beyond it, risking their left for 
the sake of greater penetration. Soissons, yielding, let the salient 
widen on the right among the woods and hills between the Aisne 
and the Ourcq. Across the line of advance, all the river valleys 
sloped to the right in the general direction of Paris. By the fourth 
day, the Mame was within reach, and once across the Marne a 
swing to the west made Paris a possibility. South of the Marne 
lay the battlefield on which the war had, in 1914, changed from 
one of maneuver in the field to one of attrition in the trenches. 
Between Dormans and Chateau-Thierry was the place to cross. 
Southward and westward was the thrust, and ahead of the German 
line the roads were clogged with farmers hurrying from trouble and 
with French units in various stages of retreat. It was mostly one- 
way traffic; Allied divisions were not pressing against it to the 
front. Bliss had trucks in readiness to move his files, in case Paris 
should have to be abandoned. 


The ist Division, busy at Cantigny, was too busy to be of use 
elsewhere. The 26th was still in charge of a sector at St. Mihiel. 
The 42d was on its Baccarat sector in Lorraine. The 320!, now re- 
considered and made a combat division, was on the line in front of 
Mulhouse. Only the 2d was ready for heavy duty. It had com- 
pleted an assignment on the west side of St. Mihiel and had been 
moved, ten days before the drive, to the vicinity of Beauvais. 
Here, Major-General Omar Bundy was continuing its training 
with the French. It was near enough the ist Division for it to be 
suspected that it was part of a concentration that Foch was pre- 
paring for use east of Montdidier. When Petain on the fourth day 
of the drive asked for troops, the 2d Division was put on trucks, 
spending the last day of May en route to Meaux, on the road to 

There were no other divisions ready for use. The 5th Division, 
arriving in installments like the rest, through April and May, had 
not yet had the experience of a quiet sector and was training near 
Chaumont. Major-General Joseph T. Dickman, with the 3d, 
which had arrived a month earlier in France, was also near Chau- 
mont, where Pershing had watched his maneuvers within the week. 
The commander had been to the British area to see something of 
the still fresher arrivals, the 4th, 28th, 35th, yyth, and 82d, when 
he wrote in his diary on the last day of the month: c The French 
situation is very serious.' But such as he had, he handed his men 
to Foch. Even before the sd Division was started east to Meaux, 
the 3d, as man-power and without artillery, was started west. It 
began to move on the 30th of May. One of its units, the yth 
machine-gun battalion on its own motor transport, arrived at the 
Marne on the afternoon of the thirty-first, and as the German ad- 
vance pushed down the right bank of the river toward Chateau- 
Thierry the machine-gunners crossed the bridge, took station on 
the north edge of the town, and set to work. While they awaited 
the rest of the division, which was temporarily attached to a 
French division, they covered the retreat through Chateau- 
Thierry, retarded the German advance, held their stations on 
June i, and on June 2 retired slowly through the town. They 


crossed to the south bank just before the bridge was destroyed by 
General Jean-Baptiste Marchand, of Fashoda fame, commanding 
the loth French Colonial Division. Along the south bank of the 
Maine the 3d Division filtered into place. By June 6, Dickman 
had a sector to the left of the loth Colonial with his own left 
touching the sd Division, which had followed the 3d into action. 

The sd Division, in its trucks on May 31 when the units of the 
3d went into action, came up to Meaux in the afternoon and was 
sent ahead astraddle of the Paris-Metz road. Bundy, by protest, 
kept it from fighting piecemeal among the French. His men 
marched all night, corning into line on the morning of June i, 
without knowing w'here the line was, or whether it had even an 
existence. The German divisions in the salient were swinging 
westward, and between them and the retreating French there 
was no fixed force. As, after the event, eloquence grew more im- 
passioned and less careful, Daniels was one of many to rejoice 
that the Marines had saved Paris. The regiments of Marines 
attached to the sd Division had an advantage in publicity over all 
other varieties of troops. When the censors passed the word 
'division' in the stories of the correspondents no reader could tell 
w r ho was meant thereby since censors 5 rules forbade the nam- 
ing of specific units. But when they passed the word 'Marines' 
(which no one had thought to forbid) everyone recognized at once 
the regiments that had been taken over with the earliest troops. 
A Marine legend was built up at the expense of troops just as useful 
and many times as numerous. The recruiting officers of the 
Marines made much use of the words 'first to fight'; and the 
Secretary of the Navy, their commanding officer, played them a 
close second. The gallant units on the road to Metz were headed 
toward an overstuffed legend as misleading as that of the Rough 
Riders in the war with Spain. But neither the Marine Corps, nor 
the 2d Division as a whole, seems to have saved Paris. 

The saving of Paris may have been accomplished south of the 
Marne, where the German armies, once through between Chateau- 
Thierry and Dormans might have swung west around Hill 204, 
had not the French, with American assistance, checked the ad- 


vance. It may have been accomplished north of the Paris-Metz 
road, where the French constructed a new line which left the %d 
Division in command of the sector to the right by June 4. But it 
was more probably done by the decision of the German High 
Command. As the salient advanced, it was hampered by its own 
success and endangered by its long and exposed flanks. Chateau- 
Thierry and a line running nearly north from the Marne at that 
point were as far west as it was safe to press, or intended to press, 
until the salient should be sufficiently enlarged to allow room for 
maneuver for the crowded attacking divisions and for the opera- 
tion of the services of the Germans. 

Yet the zd Division, weary as it was with all day in the trucks 
and all night on the march, managed to establish a line where 
there had been no semblance of a line. It held its stations while 
refugees poured through it, escaping the invaders; it listened to 
the talk of dire calamity on the heels of the refugees; and it 
watched a new French front being pushed up alongside it. It 
waited for the Germans, but the latter did not strike it in force on 
the first, the second, or the third of June. In front of the sector of 
the zd the new German line enclosed Hill 204, just west of Cha- 
teau-Thierry in the angle between the Marne and the road to 
Metz, and Vaux, upon that road, and the villages of Bouresches 
and Belleau together with the wooded hill in front of the latter. 
To the left of the zd the new line ran north, crossing the Ourcq, 
passing well in front of Villers-Cotterets and the forest behind 
which it was hidden, and on to a crossing of the Aisne about seven 
miles west of Soissons. From the Marne to the Aisne is about 
twenty-seven miles, of which the zd held some five. Not until 
June 9 did the Germans undertake seriously to widen their salient 
on this western side, and from this effort they were beaten back 
by the Tenth French Army under General Mangin. 

On June 6 the 2d Division began a corrective operation of its 
own to bring within its lines Vaux, Bouresches, and the woods in 
front of Belleau. Here for the first time an American division 
undertook a protracted enterprise. The terrain was difficult, the 
resistance stout, and the regiments were so green that they blun- 


dered into each other, lost contact, and got lost in the woods. 
Beginning at Bouresches, which was taken without great difficulty 
on June 6, the fight dragged out, with troops learning their business 
as they fought. Hill 204 to the right of Vaux, and the Belleau 
Woods to the left of Bouresches, tested the endurance of the divi- 
sion and the skill of its officers. The hill was taken bv Tune 10, in 

* tj 3 

co-operation with French forces and the left of the 3d Division. 
The Belleau Woods were cleared out, clump by clump, and gun- 
pit by gun-pit, but were not fully in American possession until 
June 25, when the Marine Brigade finished what was Its particular 
task. The enterprise had sentimental values which the French 
recognized by renaming the woods as Bois de la Brigade de 
Marine. The division had suffered some 9500 casualties. Con- 
gress In due time incorporated the Belleau Wood Memorial 
Association which bought the ground on which they fought. Vaux 
was at last taken on July i, and in a few days more the responsibil- 
ity for the sector passed to the 2 6th Division. The command of the 
2d was changed on July 15, giving to Major-General James G. 
Harbord his brief moment in the field. He had been Pershing's 
chief of staff from the organization of the A.E.F. until May, had 
then commanded the Marine Brigade until July, and was reluc- 
tantly to accept non-fighting duty before the month was out, 
Bundy went up, to command in turn the Sixth and Seventh Army 

The position of Foch, Commander in Chief on the Western 
Front, became stronger every day. The mythical reserve, which 
was to have been contributed by the Allies and managed by the 
Executive War Board of the Supreme War Council, had remained 
without reality except in the minds of news writers outside of 
France. While the heavy pressure was upon the line in March and 
April the Generalissimo could do little but watch and hope, and 
contemplate the action he might some day take if he should have 
the strength. The three months after the line was stabilized around 
Montdidier brought him the strength, such as it was. The At- 
lantic Ferry, in these months, carried 648,000 American troops. 

It is an impressive list of divisions, seventeen in all, that made 


appearance in France in these same months. If they had been 
divisions trained as in the schedule, and floated as complete units, 
they would have been more impressive. But they came as the 
convoys could receive them, with the first and last units of many of 
them two months apart. They came faster than the War Depart- 
ment had provided, until camps in the United States were drained 
and divisional strength was made up at the last minute by trans- 
ferring men, wherever they could be found. The case of the 33d 
Division, arriving mostly in May, is to the point. 

Not all the war units were as happy in their historians as was the 
division put together at Camp Logan, in Texas, out of the Illinois 
National Guard. Frederic L. Huidekoper, adjutant of the Divi- 
sion and a lawyer by trade, had written a textbook of controversy, 
The Military Unpreparedness of the United States (1915), before he 
took a commission. He served with the Illinois troops through the 
war and was commissioned by the State to write The History of the 
3$d Division A.E.F. (1921). His four volumes have none of the 
college-annual spirit that lessens the usefulness of many divisional 
histories. They contain weighed text and reprint a large share of 
the official orders on which the text is based; and they reveal the 
tribulations of Major-General George Bell, Jr., as he sought to 
prepare his troops for service. 

The 33d was in motion overseas from April 23 until June 15, 
1918. Its first units had begun to arrive at Gamp Logan on 
September 10, 1917. Here they had found an incomplete camp 
and General Bell with his divisional staff waiting to receive them. 
Before Bell had more than a fraction of his men in hand, he was 
sent abroad on the inspection tour with other divisional com- 
manders, and was away from September 19 until December 7. 
While he was in France his understudy rearranged the units as 
they came in accordance with the divisional structure and size 
preferred by Pershing. Some were enlarged, some reduced, some 
broken up. All were short of men, and the complement of officers, 
of whom nearly one thousand were required, suffered all the time 
from the loss of selected groups sent away for special instruction or 
ordered away to other military units. Short of personnel as the 


division was, it was overwhelmed by the way in which its shortage 
was relieved. Drafted men, 6600 of them, were sent it from the 
86th and 88th Divisions; and with these men instruction had to 
begin again from scratch. Among these, moreover, were so many 
'unable to speak English' and so many physically unfit (2189 
were discharged for physical disability) that they could not be 
assimilated. The weather went back on them and their canvas 
tents were no protection against heavy snow and a temperature of 
11, which is low for Texas. 

When intimation of early shipment came at the end of Novem- 
ber, it was necessary to report to Washington on the unreadiness 
of the division, and the shipment was cancelled. But its supplies 
were sent, being transferred to the 32d Division. When Bell 
returned in December, organization and training began again, 
with numbers still inadequate and with many alien enemies 
among the drafted men, whose disposition the War Department 
was slow to settle. In March, Bell was protesting to the Chief of 
Staff, urging that his letter get to General March himself and not 
to some assistant (Bell 'having been a Staff officer' and knowing 
the procedure), and reminding him that Pershing had 'personally 
declared to me that no divisions should be sent overseas unless they 
were thoroughly disciplined and equipped. 5 It was no wonder 
that members of Congress, who had visited their home camps, 
went to the December session in Washington full of grievance and 

The 33d Division moved at last in April. Its gaps were hur- 
riedly filled by robbing the 84th, 86th, and 88th Divisions. 
Arriving variously at Brest, Bordeaux, and Liverpool, they settled 
with the English near Abbeville, and a few companies fought with 
the Australians at Hamel on July 4. Not until mid- August did 
the division, still without its artillery, go into action with the 

A division on the roster was not always a division for the field 
the more rapidly the men were shipped, the less was there to be 
expected of their readiness when they arrived. But the acceptable 
performance of the earlier divisions at their first test made good 


news at home. Cantigny, Chateau-Thierry, and Belleau Wood 
heartened the citizen. If the achievements were as dangerously 
magnified as the complaints of maladministration had been six 
months earlier, it was no more than was to be expected under war 
stresses. The half-knowledge with which men wrote and the gaps 
in fact due to the military censors at the European ends of the 
cables distorted the story for a public mind that was too greatly 
disturbed to have drawn correct conclusions from the whole truth. 
No one, in office or out, was in a position to know the whole truth. 
The 'supermen' installed during the spring were by June appear- 
ing to get results; and results were being got, whether because of, 
or in spite of, the supermen. Schwab's launching party of July 
4, with its nearly one hundred ships, conveyed a promise that the 
tonnage need would be met at last. The American camps had 
a soldier population of nearly a million and a half, while Baker 
timed for the Fourth of July a letter to the President informing him 
that on July i '15019,000 men had been embarked for France. 5 
His figures were interpreted in the light of the performance of 
those who had led the way. Foch had his man-power in sight. 

A young Virginia officer, Jennings C. Wise, watched the 
operations near the Marne and wrote of them while memory was 
fresh. His Turn of the Tide (1920), one of the earliest measured 
narratives of American participation, is still of value. His title fits. 
The tide of the World War, flooding against the Allies since 1914, 
slackened when the Marne salient was stabilized in June. It turned 
to ebb in July, as the enemy attempt to enlarge the salient and 
to put it to use broke down, and as Foch brought into action what 
was now his superior man-power. The testing of the quality of 
the new American divisions was continued and extended as the 
dynamics of the war reversed direction. 

There are few advantages inherent in the military possession of 
a salient. Its external lines are of necessity longer than the base 
from which it has been thrust, and more costly to defend. They 
run where the enemy has held them, rather than from point to 
point determined by sound strategy and the convenience of the 
attacker. The terrain within the salient^ likely to be cut up by 


shell fire, must, at the least, be reorganized to carry the services 
behind the new fronts. It may easily happen that by advancing 
into the salient the successful troops have walked within range of 
defenders' guns. 

All of these disadvantages came to Germany with the less than 
success of the May attempt to gain territory and to break the 
Allied line. Unless one of these objectives could be attained, the 
drive to the Marne was a liability rather than an asset. The 
German documents have made it clear that this was the last huge 
liability which Germany was able to assume. The only specific ad- 
vantage gained was the interruption of communication on such 
highways as ran eastwardly from Paris toward Reims or Verdun 
and on the roads along the south bank of the Marne. This gain 
to Germany was less than fatal to the Allies. The German armies 
could not advance south of the Marne without broadening the 
base north of the Aisne from which they operated; could not with- 
draw without confessing defeat; must broaden the base or charge 
off a loss. 

In the Valley of the Oise, above the junction with the Aisne, 
the result of May was to leave French forces in a blunt angle be- 
tween the south face of the Somme salient and the west face of the 
Marne salient. A German advance here would straighten the 
German line, shorten it a little, and perhaps make practicable a 
renewal of the thrust at Paris. The advance was attempted on 
June 9, in what is sometimes described as the fourth drive of 1918. 
It was so promptly stopped by Mangin that the effort makes an 
unimportant showing beside those which preceded it. There was 
a slight gain on either side of the Oise, but none along the Aisne; 
and the German situation was not materially improved. 

It was so certain that life was inconvenient for the German 
divisions crowded in the Marne pocket and that the thrust must be 
renewed that the faces of the salient were kept under closest 
scrutiny. Concentrations were found on the east side, toward 
Reims, where a companion effort to that in the Oise was in pre- 
paration. Pershing, dining with Petain on Saturday, July 13, 
recorded the opinion of his host that the advance was near at hand. 




The intelligence officers had assembled evidence of activity on 
either side of Reims, where success on either side would bring 
about the fall of that city even though it were not itself attacked. 
A convenient prisoner, taken on the evening of Bastille Day, July 
13, carried the time schedule for the artillery fire and the infantry 
advance. It is possible that the German High Command had 
counted upon overcelebration of Bastille Day as likely to produce a 
Monday morning slackness. But when the advance began on 
Monday morning, July 15, the Allied forces were so disposed as to 
receive it where and as it came. 

The American divisions along the Marne had a share in the 
reception of the drive. They had been readjusted since the original 
salient took shape. Liggett had taken command of the front west 
of Chateau-Thierry on July 4, in tactical control of his First Army 
Corps. The 26th Division, having relieved the sd, was in the line, 
with the 2d in second position, and Liggett had also a French 
division. There were French troops on his right, with elements of 
the 28th among them. This 28th (Pennsylvania National Guard) 
had arrived in May, trained a few weeks with the British, and been 
stationed with the French since July i . The 3d Division, still bri- 
gaded with the French, was farther to the right, south of the 
Marne, where it had prepared trenches in the open for the Ger- 
man artillery to fire upon and positions under cover to be used. 
East of Reims the 42d Division was slightly behind the line in a 
position to be reached by the Germans on the second day. 

For the first time Foch fought a battle on his own terms. His 
front lines, lightly held, were made to be abandoned. Behind 
them, in prearranged positions, his artillery was fixed to range 
over the river crossings and, more important, the next positions 
where German divisions, tense to take trenches, would be relaxed 
when they found the trenches empty. To the east of Reims, Gou- 
raud yielded on July 15, but held the Germans on the second day. 
West of Reims, the heavy fighting was at the Marne crossings, 
well below Dormans. The country directly between Reims and 
the Marne was too rough for advance and compelled the German 
armies to detour west around it, before they could push east, up the 


valley. They made their gains in the Dormans region, against the 
French. Where the 3d Division held the line on the Marne bank, 
east of Chateau-Thierry, the line held. Both fact and legend built 
up the fame of its 38th infantry regiment, which found itself alone, 
fought simultaneously on its front and both flanks, and held its 
ground. Jusserand was wont to tell American audiences of one of 
the American generals, insubordinate when ordered to withdraw, 
basing his disobedience on a point of honor: that he had still 
three thousand shells in his possession belonging to the enemy and 
that he was bound to return them to the owner. The German drive 
made its little gains on July 15, was on the sixteenth stopped on 
ground determined for it in advance, was uncertain on the 
seventeenth in face of a new kind of reception, and on the eight- 
eenth was abandoned because Foch had made it futile. 

The Germans were embarrassed in the occupation of a salient 
that they dare not deepen without widening and that they could 
not widen. Their embarrassment was visible to amateur strate- 
gists as well as to those, Pershing among them, who advised that an 
attack upon the flank would be appropriate. The east flank, 
where Reims sat among the hills which had compelled the Ger- 
man armies to make a detour, was strategically impossible. But 
the west flank, from which further drives toward Paris might be 
anticipated, was inviting. Not far within the German lines the 
roads, once carrying French supplies between Soissons and Cha- 
teau-Thierry, were now congested with German supplies essential 
to the troops at the tip of the salient. They were already within 
range of the French guns, while the advance west of Soissons had 
brought the German troops nearer to the dumps where Foch had 
been concentrating supplies against the abandoned project of a 
drive east of Montdidier. Knowing where the blow of the fifteenth 
would strike, Foch arranged to let it take its course, confident that 
it could lead to nothing. He planned to break it, not only by 
tactics at its tip where it was best prepared to win, but on the side, 
robbed to serve the tip. 

Two days before the blow he caught the ist Division, en route 
from its Cantigny sector to a rest region which it badly needed, 


and shunted it back to his line west and south of Soissons where it 
slipped in behind the ist Moroccan Division on Monday night. 
On Wednesday night it sidled alongside that division, on its left, 
upon the line of battle. Major-General Charles P. Sumnierall 
became its commander while it was in motion, relieving Bullard 
who had been lifted to the command of the Third Army Corps, to 
administer American troops in this new adventure. He had been 
assigned the promotion a week earlier, while Pershing had in mind 
a grouping of divisions and corps near Chateau-Thierry in an 
American First Army. He was given the sd Division as well as the 
ist, and also the French ist Moroccan; but since the rearrange- 
ment was too recent for the staff to be ready, the tactical direction 
of the corps remained with the French. 

The sd Division, relieved by the s6th in its Chateau-Thierry 
sector on July 10, had its rest broken by orders on Sunday, July 14, 
to join the Third Corps in the French Tenth Army southwest of 
Soissons. Harbord relieved Bundy in its command on Monday, 
organizing his staff as he moved into a position of which he was 
not fully informed. The forest of Villers-Cotterets, facing the 
German lines, had held them back a little, so that it constituted a 
small salient for the French. It provided cover in which the con- 
centration of troops could be concealed by day and a near-jungle 
through which it was almost impossible for troops to find their way 
as they moved to station by night. Mangin, of the Tenth Army, 
commanded the projected operation. Gouraud, east of Reims, 
was reinforced and directed to prevent German gains in his direc- 
tion. This he did on Monday and Tuesday of the drive, with con- 
siderable assistance from the 42 d Division. 

Wise speaks of Foch's determination upon a counter-offensive 
as 'superb audacity. 3 It was bold enough, but it was less than this; 
sound strategy pointed to it when the time should come and when 
there should be troops at hand. Troops were at hand when the 
early testing of the American divisions revealed their enthusiasm, 
if not their experience. The time had come as soon as it was clear 
to Foch that the German drive of July 15 was proceeding upon his 
schedule rather than upon its own. He borrowed British divisions 


as well as Bullard's army corps, concentrated fifteen divisions 
between the Aisne and the Ourcq, and selected the American 
units for the spearhead. When his attack began at 4.45 A.M. on 
Thursday, July 18, of the nine divisions to advance only three had 
been close to the front the day before. They started fagged by a 
night march. They were unheralded and unsuspected. 

The whole line pressed on the morning of July 18. On each of 
the three sides of the Marne salient it was demonstrated that the 
tide had turned. The Germans knew it before Foch sensed it; von 
Hertling writing later: 'even the most optimistic among us under- 
stood that all was lost. 3 So far as the American component was 
concerned, there were three active divisions in addition to the 
Third Army Corps. The 4th Division, south of the Ourcq, ad- 
vanced with the French. The s6th, a bit farther south, from its 
Belleau Wood sector pushed into the heart of the salient. East of 
Chateau-Thierry the 3d moved in a parallel direction across the 
tip. The s8th Division, also on the line, to the right of the 3d, kept 
close to the Marne. With the enemy busy on all of his Marne 
fronts, the chief business of the effort was to penetrate the German 
flank at Soissons, to endanger the highways around that city, to 
advance the Allied guns until they could reach the transportation 
lines at Fere-en-Tardenois. Not Petain who urged, or Foch who 
approved, or Mangin who executed, foresaw the penetrating power 
of the troops at the spearhead, tired though they were; or that what 
was now begun was to continue, with ever-broadening front, 
until the German armies were stalemate and the Imperial Govern- 
ment was broken. 

The withdrawal of the German armies from the Marne 'pocket 3 
is likely long to provide material for case study of tactics. It was 
professional in the highest sense. During the first two days of 
Foch's counter-thrust the whole west face of the salient was 
pushed back from six to eight miles, endangering the rest of the 
salient through interference with the transportation lines. The 
artists who translated the Allied advance into maps and cartoons 
for readers of war news in the United States pictured the pocket as 
a bag, with a drawstring along the Aisne and Vesle, from Soissons 


to Reims. They had Foch pulling the drawstrings, with von 
Boehn's Seventh German Army as the catch. But the catch 
escaped, losing to the Allies what stores they could not burn or 
move, yet saving the force. As soon as the meaning of the first two 
days was appreciated, resistance stiffened around Soissons, for here 
was the hinge at the German right on which the front must swing 
back. Not until August 2, the sixteenth day of pressure, did the 
French lines reach the outskirts of Soissons, and by this date the 
town had been evacuated because the German line had swung in 
brilliant and orderly retreat from the Marne to the hills south of 
the Vesle. On August 4 the 32d Division came to Fismes and on 
the next day Bullard took tactical command of the Third Army 
Corps along the Vesle. The salient was off the map. 

The behavior of the American troops in the Marne pocket was 
more significant than the performance of the same number of 
men could be in any later phase of combat. The maneuver here 
was first fruit of the Supreme Command under Foch, the first con- 
sequence of a superiority in man-power given to the Allies as the 
result of the shipping decisions of March, the first testing on a con- 
siderable scale of the raw divisions for whose command Pershing 
was waging so persistent a battle. While the engagement was on, 
the Supreme War Council held its meetings on the first of June, and 
of July, with Pershing gaining in his power to insist through the 
behavior of his men. It no longer required persuasion to get ships 
to move more men as fast as they could be brought to Hoboken. 
The enemy made discovery that the A.E.F. was real and noted in 
the intelligence reports that some of the units behaved 'almost like 
shock troops. 5 The discouragement in Allied headquarters turned 
to hope until it was almost forgotten that in January the wisest of 
the military men had agreed that American troops could not be 
relied upon as important in action until at least 1919. 

American opinion, quickened by the realities it knew about 
for the censors were generous and by the exaggerated forms in 
which realities were magnified, caught a glimpse of victory and of 
a grateful Europe. The investigations of mistake and incapacity 
in war preparation were no longer worth pushing; their reports 


fell flat. The political opponents of Woodrow Wilson lost hope, 
until even the kindly persuasiveness of Will H. Hays could hardly 
divert their attention from the war maps and the casualty lists. 
With the war a-winning they could not hope to turn the Demo- 
cratic majority out of office. Against war Democrats it seemed al- 
most impossible to run a serious competitor without inviting a 
charge of disloyalty. Against Democrats of the South, whether 
they were for the war or lukewarm, no Republican could hope to 
have much chance. And there were Republicans coming up for 
re-election in November who could not even be supported, if they 
survived the primaries, without suggesting that the party preferred 
politics to victory. Wilson, speaking for the Liberty Loan on the 
day the Germans crossed the Chemin des Dames, had uttered the 
phrase 'politics is adjourned. 5 It was more than possible that the 
adjournment was 'without day.' The American mind, geared to 
its war acceptance of work or fight and impatient with either in- 
difference or dissent, lost its inhibitions as to scale or cost and w r as 
prepared to see things through. 

While the early divisions were undergoing their test, more troops 
were floated in July than in any other month of the war. It was 
not, chiefly, as divisions that they went. Indeed, after the end of 
June, only six of what were to figure as combat divisions arrived 
in France; three in July and three in August. The high figures 
were high because of the great number of casuals packed into the 
ships and specialized troops badly needed behind the lines or in 
the equipment of corps or armies. As the operation in the Marne 
pocket came to an end in early August, with the pocket gone, and 
with the 4th and 32d Divisions abreast on the Vesle at Fismes, 
the American force in France was intricately engaged. In every 
process, save that of army fighting, from elementary instruction to 
heavy combat, it was spread along the front from Ypres to Mul- 
house. The conveyance of the force to Foch, in March, had not 
been recalled. 

As of August 4, when Bullard took tactical command of the 
Third Army Corps, three of the combat divisions were mostly at 
sea, fifteen were behind the lines resting or preparing, eleven were 


at the front. It was as well that Pershing had insisted on his large 
division, twice as large at least as those of the Allies or of the 
enemy, for he had trouble enough in providing twenty-nine with 
adequate command and staff. Had he, with smaller divisions, 
possessed twice as many, he would have had to outfit them with 
officers unready for the burden of responsibility. Only in the early 
divisions had officers revealed enough of quality to warrant promo- 
tion. Most of the divisional assignments were based on pre-war 
records and hunch, not always happy. Half of the pre-war officers 
had been left at home for indispensable duty there. 

The eleven divisions on the front on August 4 began at the 
extreme left with the 30th (Tennessee, North Carolina, South 
Carolina, National Guard) and the 27th (New York, National 
Guard), brigaded with the English at Ypres. Next, on the north 
face of the Somme salient, the 8oth (Virginia, West Virginia, 
Pennsylvania, National Army) and the 33d (Illinois, National 
Guard), who were training with the British on the line. On the 
Vesle, the drive through the center of the Marne salient, begun by 
the 2 6th (New England, National Guard) and the 3d (Regular), 
continued by the 42d (Rainbow) and the 32d (Michigan, Wis- 
consin, National Guard) with the assistance of the 28th (Pennsyl- 
vania, National Guard), had been completed by the 4th (Regular) 
and the 32d, both now ready for relief. 

One division, not figuring in the tables because it was struck 
from the list in May, was represented on the line of August 4 by 
three regiments fighting with the French. This was the 93d, a 
Negro division, built around Negro units from the National Guard, 
but never filled to strength. It had been a matter of delicacy and 
difficulty to deal with the Negro citizen, whether he was called to 
duty by the draft or already enrolled as a Guardsman. An 
officers* training camp for Negroes was organized at Camp Dodge, 
whence came junior officers to command troops of their own race, 
it being the intention of the War Department that all of their 
higher officers should be white. By December the Department 
had decided to concentrate in Negro units the Negroes as they 
came to camp and to group these units in two Negro divisions. 


The idea for the 93d was abandoned, its regiments being per- 
mitted to remain with the French. The other Negro division, the 
gsd, was assembled while on the way to France, sent overseas in 
June, and stationed in a Lorraine sector at the end of August. 
Most of the Negro troops to reach France were sent in labor units, 
without divisional organization, and served behind the lines. 

Of the eleven divisions on the line of August 4, five were in 
quiet sectors, east of Verdun. Of these, the 8sd (Georgia, Ala- 
bama, Tennessee, National Army) stood on the south face of St. 
Mihiel. The 37th (Ohio, National Guard) was directly east of 
Nancy; the 5th (Regular) had the St. Die sector in Lorraine; the 
35th (Missouri, Kansas, National Guard) and the sgth (New 
Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, National 
Guard) were in Alsace, in front of Mulhouse. 

It was not an Army of the United States that Pershing as yet 
commanded in France; it was in truth only a great armed force. 
But as fighting in the Marne salient ceased, events were in train 
to make Army a fact. In Washington, March had announced an 
impending change at the end of July, following on August 7 with 
an order whereby the several designations as Regular, National 
Guard, and National Army were stricken from the record. The 
whole force became the Army of the United States. The scram- 
bling process had already made the special designations misleading 
in the case of most of the units. The collar insignia were changed, 
dropping the qualifying initials C N.G.' and { N.A/ which all but 
Regulars had hitherto been forced to wear. There was less than 
one chance in twenty that an officer or private, in uniform, had 
known its feel before April 6, 1917. All, hereafter, looked alike; 
and so far as they were able behaved alike. 

And there was recognition in France, that could not be delayed 
indefinitely after the ist and 2d Divisions had moved toward 
Soissons on July 18. On August 10, at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, 
where Liggett on July 4 took tactical command of the First Army 
Corps, Pershing was permitted to assume a new duty. Remaining 
Commander in Chief of the A.E.F., and with the consent of Foch, 
he became also commander of the First Army. 


JL o WIN the victory in 1919* ran the first sentence of a cable 
to the War Department, sent on June 23 from Chaumont. Here 
Pershing had been in conference with Clemenceau and Foch, 
and with Andre Tardieu whose knowledge of Washington affairs 
was perhaps more intimate than that of the Commander in Chief. 
It is not always remembered that after fighting has begun there is 
little the commander can do about any particular battle. It has 
passed out of his hands and into those of the field commanders 
on the line. The Commander in Chief may watch and worry, or 
interfere (if interference be his habit), but his chief business is 
to be ready to deal with its result. While the troops fight, he must 
prepare for the next battle, and the next. 

The insistence of Pershing for the separate army was partly 
based upon knowledge that as the war should be protracted it 
would become increasingly a burden upon his component among 
the Allies. The insistence of the Allies for American troops was 
as reasonably based upon their recognition of the need for man- 
power. They knew their limits. They had fear, too, that the 
collapse of Russia would make possible the transfer to the line in 
France of German divisions from the Eastern Front, whose pres- 
ence might make the German rifles more numerous than their 
own. This was a reason for the Vladivostok adventure, and that 
at Archangel, to which the United States contributed unwilling 
aid. Both fruitless efforts were based on a hope to lessen the conse- 
quences of Russian defection. When the British and French 
ministers came together in the Supreme War Council to make 
their plans in what the American officers sometimes described 


as the 'town meeting 5 they spent time in bickering upon their 
relative performance in calling to the colors all the men they had. 
Each felt certain that the other was somehow holding back. Yet 
they agreed, and rightly, that neither possessed any considerable 
source of recruits except as growing boys reached military age. 
The personal literature of the war is full of bitter pictures of 
schoolboys forced too early into uniform. That of the European 
belligerents. Allies or enemy, is equally full, with equal bitterness, 
of tales of older men kept long in the line after they had lost their 
resilience. The only untapped reservoir of man-power was in the 
United States. 

Neither British nor French, nor Pershing, now expected to win 
the war before 1920. Within two years without setback, they 
foresaw an advance across the Rhine that should bring the enemy 
to terms. The American factories were preparing heavy muni- 
tions for this advance, which would first have to crush the German 
forts. For 1919 the commanders craved a preponderance in the 
field with which they might drive the Germans back from France 
and Belgium. To this end, Clemenceau, Lloyd George, and 
Orlando, at the Versailles meeting of June i, had addressed them- 
selves to President Wilson, urging 'the raising of fresh American 
levies' and their shipment at 'not less than 300,000 a month' until 
there should be in France c a total American force of 100 divisions 
at as early a date as this can possibly be done.' At the Chaumont 
conference of June 23 the demand was reduced to schedule. 
Pershing and Tardieu doubted that the demand could be met. 
But Pershing was ready to join in asking it, to set a goal. His goal, 
attested by his signature and that of Foch, called on the United 
States for troops at the rate of six divisions a month, which, with 
troops for army, corps, and rear, would mean 250,000; and for 
replacements which, accepting the French experience, would 
call each year for twenty per cent of the total strength. Eighty 
divisions were demanded for April, 1919; one hundred by the end 
of June. 

Before the turn of the tide was visible in 1918, the battle of 
1919 was in preparation. Its first skirmishes were in France, where 


the estimates were made and where Pershing had in hand a com- 
prehensive reorganization of his services of the rear. He had 
reached a point at which upon this would depend the effectiveness 
of everything in the zone of advance. The second of the skirmishes 
was in Washington, where the new demands confused every 
schedule in preparation in the War Department and frightened 
by their scale. The third was again in Europe, whither hurried 
in the early summer the representatives of every branch of the 
procurement services to work out with the Allies an international 
co-ordination of effort. The American war machine was working 
on both sides of the Atlantic. Each crew believed its own to be 
the better effort and thought critically of the deficiencies of the 
other, but both could join in a certainty that victory would strain 
the powers of each. 

Just as the American mind had accepted from the start the 
principle of a supreme commander for the armies in the field, 
it now accepted the comparable principle of a complete team-work 
in the supply of the armies. The United States differed from the 
Allies in that it had a single goal: victory. Freed from desire to 
save something, or to attain some end directly useful to itself, it 
was freer than the Associated Powers to press for solidarity. 
Before the line of August 4 could even be guessed at, the basis of 
a solidarity had been laid down. 

It was in March that the Lines of Communication behind the 
A.E.F. were redesignated as Services of Supply and shifted to 
Tours, where Kernan set up headquarters. Here was done the 
planning, and hence came the directions, described in sympathetic 
detail in Johnson Hagood, The Services of Supply: A Memoir of the 
Great War (1927). Hagood was on the board to recommend the 
organization and became a fluent (and insuppressible) advocate 
of the principle emphasized with new solemnity in the World War. 
With the whole nation in arms, devoted to the maintenance on 
the front of the whole fighting power, and with the civilian popula- 
tion in the rear devoted to war effort, the connecting links between 
front and rear, procurement and supply, had become more im- 
portant than military direction in combat. The Services of 


Supply would have preferred an organization scheme in which 
they might have depended immediately upon the Commander in 
Chief instead of being physically apart and restricted in com- 
munication to channels running through G-4, the assistant chief 
of staff in charge of co-ordination. They always felt hampered 
because of this, even after Harbord, personal intimate of Pershing, 
became their chief. But segregation, with consolidation at Tours 
where the supply agencies were within reach, was a master step, 
and Harbord knew ways to cut red tape and get through to the 
commander in matters of emergency. The S.O.S. was a little 
hampered, too, by another control, which cut across military 
channels and was saved from doing damage only because of the 
remarkable skill of its chief, Charles G. Dawes. 

Not many generals went to war with a terrier and a piano, or 
did distinguished service from a residence in the Ritz Hotel in 
Paris. Dawes was the exception. A prominent banker and old 
enough to have shown his skill in organization by preparing the 
capture of Illinois for the nomination of William McKinley, 
Dawes took a commission in an engineer regiment, coming to 
France as major. He and Pershing were youths together when 
Dawes was struggling for a law practice in Lincoln while Pershing 
was studying law and commanding the cadet corps at the Uni- 
versity of Nebraska. An incorrigible civilian (he tells of Harbord, 
by the direct order of the Commander in Chief, buttoning him 
up to military propriety in public), Dawes never permitted his 
modest rank to handicap him in dealing with the great. Pershing 
took him from his regiment in the summer of 1917, made him 
General Purchasing Agent for the A.E.F. and chairman of a 
General Purchasing Board. In due time the Commander pinned 
his eagles on him, and the War Department permitted his promo- 
tion to the rank of brigadier-general. But Dawes remained the 
business man in uniform and retained a diaristic habit that pro- 
duced an enlightening document in his Journal of the Great War 


The jurisdiction of the General Purchasing Board spread over 
all of the buying agencies of the Army in France as well as over 


those of the Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A. The same reasons which 
induced in the United States the creation of the War Industries 
Board and the consolidation of buying in the Purchasing Com- 
mission for the Allies made it reasonable to consolidate the buying 
abroad. The principal supply branches of the Army (Quarter- 
master, Engineer Corps, Ordnance, Signal Corps, Air Service, 
Chemical Warfare, Medical Corps, and Navy) did their procure- 
ment under the critical eye of Dawes. They contributed represen- 
tatives to his General Purchasing Board, whither the representa- 
tives came not to discuss but to be told. They debated only such 
trifles as the allocation of office space. Dawes made the policies 
ever with the idea: c to save shipping space from America/ He 
reported at the end of 1918 that, as against 7,675,410 ship-tons of 
trans-Atlantic freight unloaded in France, there had been bought 
in Europe, under his eye, 10,192,921 ship-tons. 

The unification of buying, which the War Department had 
not before the war worked out in the United States, added another 
layer to the controls upon the S.O.S. Kernan had a complete 
organization at Tours, with a staff to direct the service depart- 
ments behind the line. He was under the oversight of the General 
Staff at Chaumont and for a long time the S.O.S. was not per- 
mitted to deal directly with Washington, whence came its men and 
much of its material. Its buying in Europe was under a third 
control: that of Dawes, who as General Purchasing Agent was 
subordinate to S.O.S., but whose General Purchasing Board was 
of the whole Army in France. Behind the complex scheme was 
the determination of Pershing to keep in his own hands the control 
of his rear as far as the ports. When the time should come that the 
A.E.F. was carrying the heaviest of the burdens, this would be 
unavoidable. If the time should come, and come it might, when 
the Allies should crack, the surest safeguard of the A.E.F. would 
be an unbroken line of communications. The S.O.S. protested, 
and even Dawes had his complaints, but Pershing stood his ground. 
He could not let it lose its identity any more than he could let it 
be commanded from Washington or give to it his undivided 
attention. As the priority tables were studied with reference to 


the one hundred-division program and estimates were figured for 
tonnage requirements of the second million, and the following 
millions, it became ever more certain that the war might have 
to be won from the rear. With all the buying that could be done 
in France the fraction of supplies that must still be carried over- 
seas was larger than any tonnage in sight for 1919, even if the 
Shipping Board should reach its schedule of production. 

To the dual relationship of Dawes to Chaumont and to Tours 
there was added a third. He became in a sense an ambassador 
of the A.E.F. in Paris. His purchasing duties required him to 
maintain close and continuous liaison with all of the French 
supply departments as well as with Allied and neutral business. 
Paris was the place for him. His presence in Paris and his close 
connection with the Commander in Chief made it possible for the 
latter to use him for various contacts that he would otherwise 
have had to make himself. There was a basic difference between 
the Allies and the United States in relations with their armies. 
The Allied ministers handled directly their inter- Allied business, 
while President Wilson left to Pershing such a complete control 
over the A.E.F. that the latter spent much time in diplomatic 
duty. Dawes could help with his skill in organization and his 
facility with men. He took pains not to make the task of his 
official superior at Tours impossible by going over his head, but 
with his varied functions he was outside the ordinary scheme of 
Army organization. The Army does not produce in either peace 
or war generals who can be expected to be as competent in busi- 
ness as they are in military matters. 

The co-ordination of purchases was perhaps the simplest of the 
tasks. The several bureaus did their own buying, with Dawes 
pressing on their chiefs for common action. It was his special 
task to uncover resources in Europe, whether in Allied countries 
or among the neutrals, and to tempt them out with dollars. In 
buying in these markets it was essential to have understanding 
with the Allies, lest they and the United States should bid against 
each other. It was useful to persuade the supply departments to 
use as many 'standard categories* as possible and to buy them 


in common. It was helpful to France to provide work for French 
women and mutiles in the factories and repair shops working on 
A.E.F. account. Dawes was called upon to run a labor office, 
recruiting civilian labor from neutral countries, and to make 
arrangements with the Allies for the interchange of supplies and 
the incidental bookkeeping. He acquired valuable experience in 
procuring mules from Spain, for it took diplomatic ability to 
manage both the mules and the Spanish. He found in Tardieu, 
who had been High Commissioner in Washington, a sympathetic 
coadjutor. When the War Trade Board had reached its stride, 
he negotiated through Sharpe, the American Ambassador in 
Paris, for pressure to be exerted through the War Trade Board to 
make neutrals more accommodating. The General Purchasing 
Board and the General Purchasing Agent, Pershing's own ideas, 
were created by the Commander in Chief on August 20, 1917, 
over the adverse recommendation of a staff committee to which 
the idea had been submitted. 

As the dimensions of the job grew and as useful results followed 
the closer co-ordination of purchase, the mind of Dawes expanded 
with reference to the conduct of the war and of the critical cam- 
paign of 1919. He found each of the three great armies in France 
living out of its own warehouses and upon its own independent 
supply system. Here again was reason for an independent Ameri- 
can army, for when the exigency of March to May compelled the 
dispersion of the A.E.F. units along the whole line it became 
almost impossible for the S.O.S. to serve the force. There were 
fleets of motor trucks belonging to one army lying idle while the 
neighbor army was immobilized from lack of trucks. There were 
dumps and storehouses belonging to one while another needed 
the supplies they held in dead storage. In the middle of April, as 
the ist Division was preparing to operate on the Montdidier 
front, Dawes addressed the Commander in Chief with an argu- 
mentative memorandum in favor of a military control of Allied 
supply systems; a control that would place a single service behind 
all the armies, under the direction of a general, in the rear, who 
would have an authority comparable to that which was at the 


moment being fully vested in Foch. Pershing responded favorably. 
He may, indeed, have asked for the memorandum. On May 22 
he joined with Clemenceau in signing an approval of the principle 
of unification of policy. He offered as his contribution, as he had 
done with respect to the Generalissimo, to join the Allies in 
placing the whole rear under a single commander other than 
himself. He did not see in this a complete amalgamation of the 
rears, but rather a military co-ordination of their policies. Dawes 
took the agreement to London. The mission was delicate and 
diplomatic. England was as solicitous of the British rear in France 
as Pershing could be about his own. Dawes secured an accord. 
It was less than a single commander, yet was far in advance of 
current practice. The British Quartermaster could not surrender 
his initiative. France, whose military rear was inextricably in- 
volved with the whole economic life of the country, could not 
merge civilian business in the Army or go as far toward this as the 
United States had gone in the development of the War Industries 
Board. But as the result of the effort a Military Board of Allied 
Supply came into existence and held a first meeting in Paris on 
June 28. Dawes thought that in it he had found the 'beginning 
of an inter-Allied Staff. 5 

Hereafter Dawes' duties included service with this Board in 
addition to his other responsibilites. As its American member he 
reported directly to the Commander in Chief, communicating to 
Chaumont for execution the decisions of the Board. When the 
representatives of the three armies were in agreement, their 
decisions, through military channels, had the force of orders. 

Communication and transport, whether by train, truck, or 
wire, were among the earliest 'must 5 tasks of the Military Board 
of Allied Supply. Ammunition was pooled, forage for animals 
was regulated, gasoline was conserved, labor was studied. As 
proud parent of the scheme, Dawes believed that even the chiefs 
of the independent armies and their General Staff officers learned 
from their occasional sittings with the Board 'how their activities 
. . . could be conducted in better co-ordination' and were better 
for learning it. The Executive War Board of the Supreme War 


Council fell apart as Foch, once Generalissimo, drew controls 
into his own hand. Having no commander, the Military Board of 
AlHed Supply functioned until the end. 

Before the end of June, 1918, the organization of supply was 
approaching system, while the one-hundred division program of 
June 23 promised to test it to the limit. Dawes 5 new Board was no 
sooner a fact than a threat to the new system was heard from 
Washington. Here, General March, well set in his saddle, was 
no better satisfied with Pershing than Pershing was with the 
War Department. He believed that Pershing was no diplomat 
and had no right to be entrusted with the inter- Allied negotiations. 
He fitted himself to the War Department idea that the Depart- 
ment should serve all of the rears, while the Commander in Chief 
should concentrate his attention upon the fighting. If Baker and 
the President had acceded to this idea there might have come about 
a sweeping change in the structure of Pershing's machine; but 
Baker, though he wavered, did not yield. There came, however, 
a letter from Baker, dated July 6, c desiring in every possible way 
to relieve you of unnecessary burdens' and wondering whether 
General Goethals might not, if sent to France, 'take charge of the 
services of supply' and thereby leave Pershing free to be a c fighting 
general.' The Secretary wondered, too, whether Bliss (now with 
lessened duties as Permanent Military Representative) could not 
become a clearing-house for diplomatic matters. 

Gossip had named Goethals to Pershing even before Baker 
suggested him. There are bits of testimony indicating that 
Goethals was directed to get ready, and that he was even packed 
and on his way to Hoboken, when the Secretary withheld his 
hand and ordered Goethals back to his duties as director of 
Purchase, Storage, and Traffic for the General Staff in Washing- 
ton. Pershing replied to Baker's letter (the exchange was made 
by the carriers who shuttled with important pouches between 
Washington and Chaumont) telling how he had worked to 'get 
our troops out of leading-strings,' and how Foch had at last con- 
sented to the organization of the First Army. He regarded as 
unimportant the burden of his diplomatic work, since it was 


chiefly concerned with troop shipments in which under any ar- 
rangement he must have a hand; but he had no objection to the 
use of Bliss for other diplomatic matters. As to Goethals., he was 
emphatic: c Mr. Secretary, our organization here is working well.' 
He emphasized the importance of full power on the spot and that 
if his rear were controlled from Washington 'it would be im- 
possible to make it function.' 

The Commander in Chief was 'puzzled' about Goethals; had 
believed that he was necessary in Washington to handle P., S. & T; 
and was in any event certain that General Harbord could ad- 
minister S.O.S. and c pull in the team.' Whether he feared that 
Goethals, probably as lone-handed as he was himself, could not 
pull in his team, he did not say. He had already acted as Com- 
mander in Chief before the messenger carried his letter back to 
Washington on July 28. Having cabled to Baker objecting to the 
Goethals mission and asking that action be deferred until the 
arrival of his letter, he terminated Harbord's service with troops 
in the field. Brigadier-General John A. Lejeune, with rank in 
the Marine Corps, took over the command of the 2d Division 
ad interim on July 26, and permanently on July 28. Harbord was 
ordered to Tours to meet Pershing on July 29, and to assume at 
once command of the Services of Supply. On the same day they, 
with Dawes, started upon a week of thoroughgoing inspection of 
ports, railroads, service establishments, and storehouses. On 
August 7 Pershing cabled to the Secretary that with Harbord 
in command 'I am as confident of the organization ... as I am 
of ultimate military victory.' He had acted so promptly that it 
was impossible for Washington to send him Goethals unless it 
was prepared to humiliate him in public. It held its hand. Three 
days after this, Pershing took command of the First Army, having 
conferred with Foch about the future of its use and having secured 
agreement that it should be concentrated in the region of St. 

The formal appeal for one hundred divisions, forwarded on 
June 23, was earmarked for the attention of the President. It 
received attention in every office having to do with the prepara- 


tions for 1919. It was 'studied 5 the Army word for deliberation 
upon a proposal and the framing of the reply. March replied 
in a few days, warning the Commander in Chief not to hold out 
expectations that the United States could meet the requisition. 
Conferences brought into the study the War Industries Board, 
the War Trade Board, and the Shipping Board, as well as the 
General Staff of the Army. The problem proved to be 'full of 
burrs/ as Baker soon wrote Bliss; for the shipping men reported 
that all the ships' berths in France would be insufficient for the 
vessels that would be required to meet it. Before the study was 
completed, the delegates of the War Boards had been sent to 
France for sessions with the inter-Ally boards created by the 
November conference, for heart-to-heart discussion with Pershing 
and for planning schedules in connection with the next campaign* 
As the war passed into its last half-year there remained for the 
political agencies in the United States few things to do, and 
many to watch. So, too, with the people. There was no more 
voting to be done until November. The missteps in preparation 
were crowded out of the news by reports of success in action. 
A large fraction of those whose normal capacity and tendency 
was to help build public opinion were attached to the several 
networks whose sole excuse was winning the war. Hays cut short 
his visit to the Indiana Republican convention on May 29 so as 
to be free to go on the stump for the Third Liberty Loan. Roose- 
velt and Taft, meeting by chance in a Chicago hotel while both 
were on war tours, made of the meeting a public reconciliation 
in the interest of the war. If there had been more serious issues 
to divide the public mind in the third half-year, it is unlikely that 
the small amount of uncovered sedition could have produced the 
noisy uneasiness about 'loyalty 5 in the spring. If Congress had 
not completed its basic work, it would have been too busy with 
more pressing legislation to give its time and its passion to the 
Sedition Act. It was in April and May that the structure of 
work or fight was substantially completed and that emotion took 
its fling at dissent. Public opinion thereafter, as it watched the 
war, dealt more and more with terms of peace: Wilson's terms. 


And Congress, with little on its docket except a revenue act which 
could not be completed because no one could say how much 
money would need to be raised, took partial recesses through the 
summer. It was not until autumn, September 6, that Claude 
Kitchin brought from the Committee on Ways and Means what 
was to grow into the Revenue Act of 1919 and found there was no 
quorum on hand to receive it. 

Between July 13 and August 19 the two houses obeyed the 
constitutional injunction not to adjourn for more than three days 
at a time, protecting itself by a gentlemen's agreement that no 
business should be brought into the semi- weekly meetings without 
full notice. A handful of members would meet twice a week, 
discover that no quorum was present, and adjourn for three days. 
Most of the members went on vacation, some of them going as far 
as the battle-front, where their parties visited trenches, were re- 
ceived at headquarters, and picked up what they could. When 
the hundred-division program reached the United States there 
was little that Congress need be asked to do about it. 

The minor events of the summer, which were putting only 
finishing touches upon the war structure, were designed to im- 
prove the working of the machine. The Emergency Fleet Corpora- 
tion, crowded for space in Washington, had slipped away to 
Philadelphia, leaving Washington still overcrowded. Every War 
Board and every bureau that grew with its load brought to the 
Capital its clerks by the thousand; to the profit of house-owners, 
but to the despair of those who sought lodgings. Wherever there 
was a new munitions plant, or one enlarged, there was the same 
trouble and performance was slowed down. To remedy the 
housing shortage Congress in May allocated to the Department 
of Labor fifty millions; and ten millions more for expenditure in 
the District of Columbia. Another of the red-tape cutting devices 
of the emergency made its appearance in July as the result. This 
was the United States Housing Corporation, chartered in New 
York, with all of its stock owned by the Government. By Novem- 
ber the Housing Corporation had ninety-four projects under way, 
and nearly as many more under contract or ready for bids. In the 


District, the plaza before the Union Depot blossomed with more- 
or-less Georgian apartments, of wood and plaster, to provide 
residence for the girls who did the paper work in the Departments. 

In July, too, the United States Sugar Equalization Board was 
incorporated under the laws of Delaware, to deal in sugar for the 
Food Administration, to control its price, and to capture the 
whole of the Cuban sugar crop for the use of the United States and 
the Allies. Two months later, wheat was dealt with again. Con- 
gress and the President, between them, had already taken care of 
the guaranteed minimum price for the crops of 1917 and 1918. 
Now, to be certain that the planting for 1919 might be ample to 
the need, a board advised and the President fixed a guaranty at 
$2.126, based on No. i Northern at Chicago. On August i the 
telegraph and telephone services passed into the hands of the 
Postmaster-General to be administered as a unit by the United 
States, while radio and cables remained within the power of the 
President to take over at his discretion. The action was em- 
powered by a law of July 16, which Wilson demanded. He was 
hurried to this by a strike already ordered for July 8. With the 
help of Gompers the strike order was recalled and senatorial fears 
that taking over the wires would mean a censorship of opinion 
were assuaged. Burleson was more than willing to assume the 
responsibility, since he regarded the wire services as natural 
adjunct of the Post Office. He permitted the actual operation of 
the lines to remain in charge of the existing officers of the com- 

The need to provide more man-power brought the Senate back 
from its intermittent recess and was the most important matter 
upon which action by Congress was asked and taken during the 
summer of 1918. Some action in this direction would have been 
necessary even if the demands for 1919 had not loomed up so 
sharply, for the list of Class I eligible^ under the Selective Service 
Act was approaching exhaustion. 

The initial registration, June 5, 1917, as corrected by the ad- 
dition of late-comers to the list, ran to 9,925,751. A supplementary 
registration brought in 735,834 more, who reached the age of 


twenty-one before June 5, 1918. A second supplementary en- 
rollment found an additional 1 59,161 who had come to military 
age by August 24. The grand total of 10,820,746 represented 
the discoverable man-power in the age range twenty-one to thirty, 
but there was neither possibility nor expectation that the whole 
of the group could be called to the colors. When the process of 
selection was revised, in December, 1917, and the registrants 
were classified by their questionnaires in five groups according 
to their availability, Class I became the reservoir from which 
troops were to be drawn. In the other four classes were those 
whose family or industrial status entitled them to deferred classi- 
fication. About thirty-five per cent of the registrants, 3,706,544 
in all, proved to be in Class L Most of these were ready to serve; 
conscientious objectors were few and deserters and evaders were 
believed by the Provost-Marshal-General to be under two per 

With no greater difficulty than was involved in finding beds in 
camp and uniforms, the first levy of 687,000 men was raised from 
Class I (or from its equivalent, since most of them had gone to 
camp before the five classes were differentiated). The number in 
Class I was more than sufficient even after nearly one in three had 
been disqualified on physical grounds before induction or sent 
home from camp after passing the local medical examinations. 
Not all of the first levy could be received in camp until the end of 
February. In subsequent levies, drawing from the same Class I, 
the basis of State responsibility was shifted from total population, 
which proved to be unfair because of uneven distribution of ex- 
empt aliens and physical defectives. The new basis was the better 
one of total Class I registrants, with credit allowed for voluntary 
enlistments. By the end of March more than 750,000 men had 
been drafted; by the end of June 850,000 more. The bottom of 
the reservoir of Class I men was in sight. 

There were only two ways to get more men: to summon those 
of the twenty-one to thirty age group whose call had been deferred, 
or to enlarge the age group. It was apparent before June that 
more troops would be needed than the original Class I could 


provide, even when recruited by the supplementary registrations. 
No one could tell how rapidly it might become necessary to 
summon them. General Crowder's work or fight rule of May 17, 
19185 carried a warning that non-essential work was not a sufficient 
excuse for deferred classification, but this could not greatly enlarge 
Class I. Baker took the problem to the military committees in 
May, vague in mind as to the correct age limits for a larger group, 
and hopeful for a grant of authority to the President to call men 
as needed without legislative limit. 

Except for moral advantage in the minds of men already regis- 
tered or called, there was little to be gained by age extension at 
the top. Men above thirty were likely to fall within the deferred 
classes or to be less than effective if within Class I. The ages below 
twenty-one had positive military advantage, offset in part by 
sentimental disadvantage in calling out boys who could not vote. 
Boys of nineteen and twenty were mentally and physically fit 
for service and most of them would have Class I status. 

The Class I man-power, so far as the administration of the 
draft was concerned, was less than it appeared to be. Volunteering, 
as a substitute for which the Selective Service Act had been ac- 
cepted, had been permitted in part to break down the principle 
of selection. Before the numbers of Class I men were called, they, 
as well as others in the deferred classes, and others not of draft age, 
had been able to enter the armed forces on their own initiative 
and choose their service. It was part of the theory that Regular 
Army, National Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps should be filled 
by recruiting, which could be hurried along before the draft 
machinery could be put in motion. Some of their recruits came 
in under the same stimuli that have always built up volunteering; 
others sought to escape odium by avoiding the draft. Permission 
to enter in this fashion meant some loss of men who were too useful 
to be spared from industry. In a large proportion of cases it meant 
also a diminution of Class I, in which these volunteers would have 
found themselves had they waited for their numbers. By December 
the Army had closed most of its doors to volunteers; but the Navy 
and Marine Corps continued to accept them until on August 9, 


1918, all volunteering was stopped. By this time nearly 15360,000 
had already entered the services by enlistment, while 2,288,000 
had by the end of August been inducted under the draft. Class I, 
as originally conceived, was empty. 

Early in August the man-power bill went to Congress. It was 
socially unwise to recruit Class I by throwing into it men with 
heavy family burdens. It was doubly difficult to enlarge it by 
lessening the number receiving deferred classification on industrial 
grounds. The industrial need of the war was greater than ever, 
with 1919 in sight, and labor was disposed to resent a revision 
of burdens aimed at its exemptions. The bill, signed on August 31, 
carried the extended age limits, eighteen to forty-five, both inclusive. 
It promised to add more than two and a quarter million Class I 
effectives, and it probably fulfilled the promise. The registration 
on September 12 added i3>395>7 6 names, making in all 24,234,- 
021. Never in the history of the United States had so much in- 
formation been accumulated about so many citizens as was con- 
tained in their questionnaires. Their education, their health, 
their intelligence according to the new Army tests, their aptitudes, 
their financial and domestic status, all became matters of record, 
from which Crowder drew conclusions of far more than military 
significance in his Second Annual Report of the Provost-Marshal- 
General (1919), and his Final Report (1920). But he never knew 
how completely Class I was reinforced by the spread of age limits, 
because the classification of the new registrants, done in the 
several States, was no more than in process at the Armistice, and 
was never completed. On November n, however, whether by 
draft or by enlistment, there were 4,791,172 in the various military 
and naval services; thirteen times as many (378,619) as were in 
all of them when the war Congress met on April 2, 1917. 

It was possible when the call for one hundred divisions arrived 
to forecast the willingness of Congress to assent to the enrollment 
of total man-power and to the military employment of so much 
of it as might be necessary. It was equally possible to deliver to 
the Embarkation Service as many men as Pershing desired. They 
could not be completely trained on sailing, as he demanded, for 


too few weeks elapsed between the calling of their numbers and 
their departure for Europe, and hardly enough competent divi- 
sional staffs could have been found to do the training had they 
had time for it. But possibility was thrown into doubt, if not de- 
stroyed, when it came to estimating the burden on the Atlantic 
Ferry. No estimate of overseas freight required by the force in 
France ran below thirty pounds per man per day. The guesses 
ranged between thirty and fifty pounds between full supply 
with ample reserve and minimum supply with shortages to be 
filled up by Dawes. But at the lowest figure the requirements of 
four million men would indicate sixty thousand tons that must 
every day arrive in France. There was no month before the 
Armistice in which as many as half this number of tons reached 
Pershing daily; and there were only five months in which a daily 
average of twenty thousand tons was attained. 

Facing these facts, and they were facts even though precision 
was impossible in the forecast, the War Department could not 
promise one hundred divisions by the end of June, 1919. A much 
smaller number might prove to be too many to be supplied. In 
the event of military reverses, even fewer might yet be completely 
at the mercy of the enemy and without friends among the Allies 
because of the certain Allied conviction that Pershing's demand 
for an army of his own had caused debdcle. There was some 
gambling to be done which could not be too reckless in July, 
1918, since with all the turn of the tide there was as yet no promise 
of early victory. But the good news coming in daily from the 
Soissons sector after July 18 warranted a risk. A week later the 
President approved a War Department program of eighty divisions 
to be in France in June, 1919. Allowing 27,000 to the division, 
and 13,000 more to serve behind it, this made a total of 3,200,000 
men. The ships were not in sight to move the freight for these, 
but the United States took the chance. Pertinent to the decision, 
and so preserved by Dawes, was Dwight Morrow's description of 
a father telling his little boy a story: c "The alligator had his 
mouth open and was about to close it on the turtle, when the 
turtle suddenly climbed a tree and hid himself in the foliage. 53 


"But, papa," said the little boy, "a turtle can't climb a tree. 5 ' 
To which Papa replied, "But this turtle had to." ' 

The Government in Washington had trouble in adjusting itself 
to the fact that the scene of war was far away and that its own 
task was to follow the leader, not to call the tune. The President 
left Pershing in command of the military effort. The military 
censors relaxed much of their rigor after American troops began 
to appear in action, and before the summer was over the War 
Department permitted publication of complete lists of divisions 
in France and of their higher officers. The publication was, how- 
ever, historical. The news was not released until the enemy was 
as fully aware of the facts as the Department. Plans for the future 
were kept in the realm of military secrets; at times because the 
Army censors would not pass them to the cables, at times because 
Washington was not even aware of them. Pershing's quick shift 
in the management of the Services of Supply put an end to what- 
ever move there was to relieve him of the control of his rear; 
and Washington continued to be forced to confine its work to 
the home end of the line that had become closely articulated from 
the trenches back to every citizen in the United States. 

But Washington could not do its end of the work without a 
clearer view of the underlying purpose than could be gained 
through correspondence or through the distorted picture of events 
brought to the Department of State by the honest efforts of Lord 
Reading or Jusserand. It could not plan for the battle of 1919 
without face to face contacts with both Pershing's assistants and 
the Allied agents who were at work on the French and British 
programs. With inspection and conference as objectives (and 
perhaps with curiosity), the procession of war work representatives 
on the road to Europe grew to impressive dimensions, until 
Rudyard Kipling could speak jocularly of an American invasion 
of England. 

The health and morale of the troops were not lost sight of as 
their number grew. Behind the lines the American plant devoted 
to rest, recuperation, and recreation increased in size with every 
increment of troops. 


No more in Europe than in the United States did the Army 
concede that venereal disease must remain a necessary accompani- 
ment of war. The taboos which had hitherto defeated the effort 
to control it, by preventing the public mention of its name, were 
broken down. The people wanted their sons to come home well. 
It was wasteful for the Army to carry men to France in order to 
keep them there on sick-list from preventable causes. Education 
and prophylaxis did what could be done to keep the army clean; 
recreation and rest helped to keep young minds in wholesome 
habits. The Stars and Stripes had a sound editorial policy when it 
dealt with its readers in the tone of the sporting page and as 
though they were college boys. Forty or more camp papers in 
the United States did much the same thing on a smaller scale. 
Singing masters were taken over to encourage release of emotion 
through the lungs. Dawes, a skilled musical amateur as well as 
banker, engineered the assembly of a gigantic Army band, for 
which Pershing summoned Walter Damrosch as adviser. Base- 
ball, boxing, and field sports established their therapeutic values 
in the camps behind the lines, while no body of troops could 
move far without bringing in its train the Red Cross worker and 
the huts of the Young Men's Christian Association. 

It was customary to swear at the Y.M.C.A., but it was in most 
cases kindly profanity. Katherine Mayo, asked to come to France 
and to report, produced in 'That Dam T (1920) a homely picture 
of its work. There were snarls and harsh judgments, arising largely 
from the accident that the army canteens were handed over to 
the Y.M.C.A. for administration and that the supplies there were 
sold instead of given out as rations. But the shelves of the C Y' 
carried the stock of sweetmeats and cigarettes dear to American 
youth, and the men and women in charge, in uniform but not 
with military rank, kept their stocks wherever there might be 
men off duty. 

The Red Cross, close to the army, had gone far since the drive 
for a hundred million which it undertook under Henry P. Davison 
in 1917. It went out for another hundred in May, 1918, when the 
President marched down Fifth Avenue at the head of its proces- 


sion. Davison was among those in France in the early autumn 
to work out with Pershing a closer relationship between the 
medical personnel of the Red Cross and the Army Medical 

The other volunteer agencies ran second to Red Cross and 
Y.M.C.A. tending to become something of a nuisance because 
of their earnestness and their insistence that weeks must be al- 
lotted in the United States to their drives for funds. The Salva- 
tion Army, the Knights of Columbus, and the United Hebrew 
Charities were all in the picture, while within the Army the 
chaplains' service was expanded under Charles Henry Brent, an 
Episcopal bishop whose flexibility Pershing had known in con- 
nection with the Philippine Opium Commission. 

The morale services, borne with gladly for the help they gave 
and doubly useful because of their effect upon the mind at home, 
were essential in a democratic war; but they and the men who 
went out to inspect them were but a small link among the many 
between the American effort and the armies in the field. 

Late in July it was announced that the Assistant Secretary of 
the Navy was abroad and that on the twenty-second he had begun 
his tour of inspection of the Navy establishment by lunching in 
London with Balfour, Milner, and Sir Eric Geddes, First Lord of 
the Admiralty. For the next two months Franklin D. Roosevelt 
was up and down the front. His travels took him in public to 
Italy, in semi-public to the destroyer base and to the fleet, in 
private to the offices where contracts were to be inspected and to 
the ports where the facilities for handling ships were nearly ade- 
quate to the load then on them, but in need of expansion for the 
eighty divisions when these should come. Before he was reported 
home again, September 19 sick with what was beginning to 
be called the 'Spanish flu' he had in his mind the picture of the 
Navy need. 

Most important of the visitations of the summer were those 
having to do with food and munitions; the former accompanied 
with wide publicity because the success of the food program de- 
pended on publicity; the latter almost kept from the news because 


its business was secret until the time should come to make It public 
with projectiles. 

Herbert C. Hoover (the middle letter still in his name) was re- 
ported in England the day after the arrival of Roosevelt was noted. 
The Food Administration had a more sweeping commitment 
than that of most of the American War Boards. Its reason for 
existence was less the American need than the need of the armies 
in the field and of the civilian populations of the Allies. The 
American machinery of the Food Administration was functioning 
in all the States, where its branches were carrying out its rules In 
close co-operation with the State Councils of Defense. Hoover 
went abroad to arrange the quotas for the next crop year, to 
discover minimum requirements, to search for tonnage, and to 
discuss the balance in which it would be safe to gamble civil 
sustenance against military maintenance. There were no fears 
about sufficiency of food for the United States. War gardens had 
been added to the patriotic efforts of co-operators. The con- 
sumption of sauerkraut had picked up. Banned for its German 
name in the first surge of patriotism, it had been saved as liberty 
cabbage.' The acreage under contract with the farmers north of 
Chicago made it already clear that in 1919 the cabbage plant 
was enlisted for the war. 

The Food Administrator was already a notable figure in Allied 
circles where to the courtesy extended to him because of his past 
performance there was added more consideration because in his 
hands were future benefits. He was lunched at the Mansion House, 
dined by the Government, and received as key member of the 
conference of Allied food controllers which opened on July 23. 
He took with him a considerable staff. Alonzo E. Taylor, who 
had been one of his agents abroad since the war began, joined 
him in England. Hoover opened the conferences with the com- 
forting assurance that the food crisis was past. During the next 
few weeks he repented somewhat of this assurance and reminded 
the public through his press releases that it was past only if economy 
continued to be practiced. However, his tables and graphs showed 
wheat, meat, sugar, and fat in sight in quantities sufficient for the 


minimum needs of the Allied populations and the armies in the 
field. With the submarine danger subsiding, it had become chiefly 
a matter of getting the cargoes overseas; but that was a matter 
of maritime transportation, not of food production and conserva- 
tion. c lt might be said/ said David Lloyd George, who introduced 
him at the Government dinner, c he represented Providence.' 

Out of the conference of food controllers an Inter- Allied Food 
Council was set up as a permanent agent in London, with offices 
in Trafalgar House,, Waterloo Place. It was promised that war 
bread in the future would be better bread, but those who ate it 
were admonished still to regard it not as bread but merely as 
consumable food. American hotels were released from their no- 
wheat pledge. Consumers were told they might eat as freely as 
they chose of c light' beef. From both sides of the line the food 
information was such as to give hope to the enemies of Germany. 
As against the Hoover assurance of sufficiency, the figures from 
Germany told enough of the true story to warrant a belief that 
the German Army ration was kept up only by the starvation of 
the population at home. Dieticians began to figure and guess 
about the point at which food and the lack of it would win the 
war. Back in New York before the end of August, Hoover told 
the reporters little of his detailed plans, but he let it be known 
that Germany was not yet hungry enough to surrender, that food 
was clearly in sight, and that the remaining problems were those 
of building up a reserve for 1919 and of getting ships. By 'conserva- 
tion measures/ he said, reverting to the slogan of April, 1917, 
'the Allied cause has been saved/ But victory was more than 
ever a matter of ships. 

The arrival of Edward R. Stettinius, Second Assistant Secretary 
of War, was made public simultaneously with that of Hoover and 
Roosevelt. Coming into the War Department in January as 
Surveyor-General of Purchases, Stettinius had with Goethals 
reorganized the procurement work. He came now to France to 
stay, soon vacating his Washington position, when Crowell and 
Ryan absorbed his job and divided the work. He had with 
him Samuel M. Felton, a railroad expert, specializing in military 


railways; Walter S. Gifford of the Council of National Defense, 
specially skilled in telephones and telegraphs; and Charles Day, 
a mechanical engineer from the Emergency Fleet Corporation. 
The munitions conference, for which he was headed, became a 
permanent body under the name of the Inter-Allied Munitions 
Council. Giving no publicity to its deliberations, it worked for 
the future, worried by the difficulty of getting to France the 
material needed by the eighty divisions without at the same time 
reducing the food supplies below a safe reserve. The munitions 
problem, like that of the War Industries Board in the United 
States, had advanced far beyond the implements of war as such. 
It was concerned with basic raw stuffs without which munitions 
could not be made and whose uneven distribution made bargain 
and balance prerequisite to any program. 

The War Industries Board had on hand to take part in the 
commodity discussions a delegation of its own headed by a con- 
sulting engineer, Leland L. Summers. The complicated nature 
of the arrangements they had to make resembled poker quite 
as much as war. They were illustrated by the case of the Spanish 
mules which Dawes so urgently required. Spain had the mules, 
needed them, and was indisposed to sell for cash. But Spain was 
short of fertilizers, whereas the Inter- Allied Nitrate Executive had 
control over the whole available supply. By withholding nitrates 
it was possible to persuade Spain to see reason in the matter of 
mules. But before the transaction was finished and the Army 
drivers had the mules, the War Trade Board, with its power to 
control the issuance of export and import licenses, had been 
brought into the arrangement. 

The complications were not limited to those due to the reluctance 
of neutral dealers. There was the matter of jute for bags, par- 
ticularly for sand bags to be used in the trenches, of which the 
United States had ordered 100,000,000 for delivery in France. 
Most of the world supply of jute was raised in India, whither the 
war demand had brought great profit and where the native peoples 
had rallied loyally to the British Empire. England was reluctant 
to impose on India either an allocation of the crop or less than a 


competitive price, while the jute farmers and the merchants who 
controlled the trade were slow to accept a regimentation. It 
happened, however, that India had been short of silver for use as 
currency and had turned to the United States to remedy the 
shortage. When the United States now found difficulty in releas- 
ing more silver, India found a way to co-operate. An Inter-Allied 
Jute Executive was about to be set up when time was called at 
the Armistice. 

Inter-Ally 'executives' and agreements to pool and ration the 
common stock of basic commodities became nearly as numerous 
as the commodities themselves. Tin, rubber, manganese, and 
platinum none of which Nature has distributed conveniently 
to the great industrial nations were key commodities, and in- 
sufficient at best. The task of the Munitions Council, supple- 
mented by the 'executives/ was to compare needs, to maintain 
control of supply, and to keep down the costs. Some of the intri- 
cacies of the business are revealed in American Industry in the War; 
A Report of the War Industries Board (1921), which Bernard M. 
Baruch filed with Wilson on his last day in office; and Report of 
the War Trade Board (1919), which its chairman, Vance C. Mc- 
Gormick, transmitted when his organization had been reduced to 
a dimension small enough to be absorbed in the State Department. 
In the last analysis, in matters of munitions as well as food, ships 
were the neck of the bottle. 

The Allied Maritime Transport Council met again at the end 
of August, after its preliminary sessions in March and April, to 
consider shipping in the light of the enlarged needs of the American 
program. In spite of the checking of the submarine the tonnage 
deficit was still alarming. The building of new ships was slowing 
down because of the diversion of labor to the repair of injured 
shipping. British labor was overshadowed by the threat of 
strikes, which evoked from the Prime Minister the counter-threat 
that exemptions from military service must be cancelled if men 
refrained from work. American bottoms, on which reliance had 
been placed after the glowing initial prospectus of the Shipping 
Board, were not to be supplemented by much new United States 


tonnage during 1918; and what new tonnage there was, instead 
of relieving the pressure upon Allied tonnage for Allied necessity, 
was insufficient for the enlarged American need. 

There were, at the end of August, 1842, ocean-going steamers 
under some form of control by the United States. They aggregated 
6,405,388 gross, or 8,693,579 deadweight tons; but only five per 
cent of these represented new ships built to the order of the 
Emergency Fleet. The Council could do little in August with 
the commitment for 1919. When it next met, at the end of Sep- 
tember, Secretary Baker was on hand as advocate of an even 
larger allocation of tonnage to the American service. Hines was 
there, too, from the Embarkation Service, stating troop and cargo 
need. The war had passed into a phase in which quick returns 
ousted the long run from consideration. Baker was ready (if not 
quite safe in doing it) to promise that after April, 1919, the new 
American tons would become a reality. 

The procession from Washington to the front and back to 
Washington to take up again the conduct of the American end 
of the contract was ended by Baker. He had once more made his 
rearrangements at home. On August 27 he named Benedict 
Crowell Director of Munitions and elevated John D. Ryan to be 
Second Assistant Secretary of War and Director of the Air Service. 
He slipped away to France, with his departure a secret until his 
arrival was noted on September 8. With him were Ryan, Hines, 
and Gorgas from the Medical Corps. He came to put the capstone 
on the agreements for the battle of 1919, and arrived in time to 
join Clemenceau and Petain on September 13, in entering the 
town of St. Mihiel, from which on the preceding day the First 
Army, A.E.F., had driven the enemy. The last sharp German 
salient had been eliminated from the Western Front. 



LMONG the most intriguing of the battles that have never been 
fought is the one that might have been just beginning when the 
Secretary of War entered St. Mihiel on the heels of the departing 
Germans. The first engagement of the First Army was completed, 
with the army held on leash by Foch. But in the mind of the 
army, from the commander down, a belief lingered that the second 
day, September 13, 1918, might as well have been the first day of a 
definitive movement leading to a peace coming earlier than it 
came in fact. Liddell Hart has had the same idea. Author of an 
admirable first-aid to the uninformed. The War in Outline (1936), 
Captain Hart developed his critical skill upon a long series of 
special writings on personalities and strategy. In one of these, he 
considered the consequences after St. Mihiel *if Foch had listened 
to Pershing instead of Haig'; and since the attack on Metz did not 
take place it remains possible to conjecture concerning its possible 
success. A seasoned correspondent of the New York Sun, Thomas 
M. Johnson, weighed the matter in Without Censor: New Light on 
Our Greatest World War Battles (1928), and inclined to believe that 
events would have proved Pershing to be right. 

St. Mihiel, on the right bank of the Meuse, was at the tip of a 
salient projecting into France after the field armies of 1914 settled 
down to a war of attrition in the trenches. South of the southern 
face of the salient the country rises to the Vosges Mountains and to 
the Plateau of Langres, progressively rougher as it rises and un- 
manageable for large modern armies. Only at one spot near the 
Swiss border, where Belfort guarded against Mulhouse and 
Spinal against Colmar, and where Mulhouse and Colmar guarded 


*V \\ 

Ep/ NA |jk GCOjlMAR 




Germany against French invasion, was a major operation even 
conceivable; and none took place. Flowing from the hill country, 
northward and roughly parallel for sixty miles or more, the Moselle 
and the Meuse start on their journey to the Rhine. They separate 
only when the Belgian Highland the Forest of Ardennes 
interposes its bulk to force them apart and its rough terrain to 
forbid large-scale maneuvers across its hills. The roads from Ger- 
many to France were only three; or from France to Germany if 
the time should come to cross the Rhine. The approach at Mul- 
house-Belfort remained a quiet zone of war; that which ran north 
of the Ardennes through Belgium brought upon Germany, for its 
use, the reproaches of the world; the third was in the region where 
the Moselle and the Meuse begin to separate in order to circle the 
borders of the Ardennes. 

Through this middle highway the German armies came in 1870. 
Confronted on the Upper Moselle by the French fortifications 
around Metz, they laid siege to the fortress, circled around it, and 
accepted its capitulation in the end. They passed across the nar- 
rows between the rivers to Verdun, marched down the valley, and 
at Sedan captured the town, the French army, and the Emperor 
Napoleon III. Metz was the guardian at the gates of France; but 
failed to guard. Verdun had slight military importance in 1870. 
But when the armies moved again in 1914, Metz had been rebuilt 
into an impregnable German fortress, while France had selected at 
Verdun the point, around which to construct every manner of 
defense that military science could command. Built to hold back a 
German invader, it held him back. The whole power of the enemy 
could not reduce it when its reduction was made the major German 
effort of 1916. 

Between Verdun and Metz, a distance of about thirty-five miles 
from river to river, the invasion of 1914 was checked by the outer 
fortifications of Verdun. To the north the German armies swept 
around them, across the Meuse, to the region of the Aisne. To the 
south they pushed a salient reaching the Meuse twenty miles above 
Verdun, and they could get no farther. Metz became a German 
center of supply, key to access to the armies in northern France. 



Scale In Miles 
5 10 



The mineral fields, Briey and Longwy, northwest of Metz, were 
worked by the invader. Germany was short of iron and determined 
to retain these fields. The salient at St. Mihiel was treated as a 
correction of the borders of the German Empire, fortified to be 
held, and filled with military cemeteries that were designed to 
last forever. Along the south face of this salient, from the Meuse to 
the Moselle, the American divisions took their tours of service in 
the trenches. The American officers let their minds range over the 
nearness to Metz whose fixed guns could reach the country at 
the base of the salient and over the military significance of the 
reduction of Metz. They had a hope that this might be the mission 

Upon the erection of headquarters at Chaumont the reduction 
of the salient became the objective of the war plans unit of Persh- 
ing's staff. Before Christmas, 1917, Petain was apologizing to 
Pershing for having revealed this to Colonel House as to be the 
first American venture in the field. And when at last the First 
Army took shape the strategists at Chaumont conceived St. 
Mihiel to be but the first paragraph in a chapter which might end 
with Metz and peace. The doubts as to American ability which 
pervaded the atmosphere of the French and British headquarters 
were not entertained at Pershing's headquarters. 

When the salient was at last cleared away in two days' fighting, 
the army in motion could not forgive the leash that held it back. 
It was natural to forget the defenses encircling Metz, which might 
have made it as impregnable as Verdun had showed itself to be, 
and to think instead of the short mileage and the value of a 
victory. But Foch listened to Haig instead of Pershing; as the re- 
sult, when Baker visited the captured town of St. Mihiel, the battle 
was at its end instead of at its beginning. Haig had put forward 
arguments for continuous pressure in the west, in which Verdun 
should be the pivot, so as to compel German withdrawal. He 
feared that failure by the A.E.F. might lessen what was now a 
chance to win; also that initial success might set up a new position 
whose maintenance by the Allies would interfere with more 
profitable progress elsewhere. He argued against the American 


desire, rejected it coming and going, and won his point. The 
battle of Metz remains only a theme for speculation. 

Second, much second, among the battles never fought, was one 
whose paper work Bundy directed. When he was removed from 
the command of the sd Division on July 15 he did more than make 
a place for Harbord. He was given the Sixth Army Corps in the 
Neufchateau area, and in August he was sent with the headquar- 
ters of his corps to Belfort. Here, planning on the use of seven 
divisions, he prepared for a drive on Mulhouse to begin in Septem- 
ber. His divisions moved toward the new center; or at least their 
headquarters radio outfits moved, ever talking, and triangulated 
daily by German military intelligence. Each day brought them 
closer to Belfort. The evidence of their movement was mystifying 
at German headquarters, for military opinion could not believe in 
a major venture near Belfort. Yet it had not believed that a mil- 
lion could be transported to France, and had been forced to ac- 
cept reality. It could not completely disregard the evidence. 
There was more evidence. A colonel in Pershing's confidence 
carelessly lost the corps orders in his hotel. A military attache in 
a neutral country (Kahn of California told the story in the House) 
lost his papers in a cafe, and was publicly distressed by his careless- 
ness. Each relied successfully upon the vigilance of the German 
secret services. The troops of the Sixth Corps, who reconnoitered 
the front line, let themselves be seen. It was Pershing's conviction 
that the ruse succeeded to the point of confusing the enemy. When 
St. Mihiel had been taken he called the Sixth Corps off its task, set 
its staff to the creation of a Second Army, and found a place for 
Bundy in command of the Seventh Corps. 

The Genesis of the American First Army (a monograph published 
by the Army War College, 1928) relates the sequence of events in 
which the Abbeville decision of May i is an early step. Here the 
Supreme War Council agreed to the principle of an American 
army under its own commander and its own flag; though naming 
no day and hoping none would come. At Beauvais, early in April, 
Pershing had been obliged to insist that the American army 
should be named among those over which Foch was to act as co- 


ordinator. The interferences with Pershing's plan, apart from 
those based on Allied distrust, were not yet end.ed. He had sur- 
rendered his divisions to Foch on March 28 , in the face of emer- 
gency. He must surrender them again at the end of May when 
the Germans neared the Marne. The renewal of the drive on July 
15, and the counter-stroke of Foch three days later, delayed him 
again: but since he could not bring his divisions to his corps, he 
had sent his corps to his divisions, with Liggett taking command 
behind them on July 4. As the German retreat from the Marne 
pocket became visible, and as the American divisions showed their 
mettle, his bargaining power grew with the Allied hope of victory. 
On July 24 he sat in a conference at the headquarters of Foch, 
and emerged with authority to proceed. 

Haig and Petain were at the conference. Pershing attended with 
a draft of an order creating an army ready for signature, but with 
an acquiescence with which to sweeten the Allies. He bore to Foch 
the news that the President would take a part in the occupation of 
the Murmansk Coast. Neither March nor Pershing regarded this 
as anything but an improvident waste of troops, but the Allies 
were set upon it. With the other commanders Pershing listened to 
Foch in exposition of a program for the rest of 1918; and for 1919, 
when it was beginning to be hoped the war could be won. With 
man-power now at his disposal, Foch was disposed to keep the 
enemy at work along his whole line, to wear out his front-line divi- 
sions, to keep the German Staff guessing, and to keep immobile 
what reserve divisions the Germans yet possessed because of the 
impossibility of determining where they might best be used. The 
thrust at Soissons had been started only as a minor operation to 
retard the drive across the Marne. Its success had started a general 
withdrawal which must be followed up. From the British view- 
point the most profitable field for military investment was at the 
extreme left of the line, along the Channel, Here Haig needed 
room for maneuver, wanted reinforcements, was conscious that 
Lloyd George distrusted him, and was sensitive at every suggestion 
of the withdrawal of the American divisions with him and at his 
rear. The assent of the French to the creation of the First Army, 


A.E.F., was unpopular with the English and irritating to the 
British Prime Minister who allowed himself to threaten to cut 
down American tonnage if the American armies were to operate 
east of Verdun. But the conference reached its decision; Haig and 
Petain went back to their armies to prepare for advance in con- 
cert, and Pershing returned to Chaumont to sign that night his 
order, effective August 10, for the assembly of the First Army. 

The components of the First Army were still in the Marne 
pocket, where on July 24 the German line still sagged down to the 
Marne although it had everywhere been withdrawn from its 
advanced positions of July 18; or they were in quiet fronts, Lor- 
raine and elsewhere, learning how to be soldiers, or in training 
camps behind the armies. Those on the Marne were functioning 
in and out of the line as the French Sixth Army pushed across the 
salient to the Ourcq and to the Vesle in the seventeen days before 
the order became effective. The new staff of the First Army had 
been hand-picked at Chaumont, where the General Staff itself had 
never before organized an army or directed its use. 

The personnel of the army staff faced a new task in organizing 
it; and Hugh A. Drum, its chief, had been at work near Liggett's 
First Corps since the day, July 4, when Liggett took tactical com- 
mand. It was proposed that the First Army, when assembled and 
organized, should relieve the Sixth French Army wherever that 
army should find itself. Since the latter was advancing every day, 
the staffs pursued the component troops from Marne to Vesle, 
never knowing the line on which the First Army might take over. 
And when at last, after the elimination of the Marne pocket, the 
line was smoothed about August 4, Foch and Pershing were on the 
verge of a decision to defer still longer the tactical functioning of 
the First Army. They were considering its shift to a different mis- 
sion on another front. 

On August 10 Pershing took command, to retain it until there 
should be a Second Army. But he deferred tactical control, 
informing his staff that the outfit was at once to be removed to 
the sector north of Toul, facing St. MihieL The French Eighth 
Army became the one to be relieved. Army headquarters were 


moved to Neufchateau, whose location made It possible for watch- 
ing Germans to suspect that its effort might be at either St. Mihiel 
or Belfort, without being certain of either until the blow should 

The opening of the frontier railroads to unimpeded" Allied use 
was the immediate objective. Haig took the responsibility for the 
line north from Paris, through Amiens to the Channel ports. 
Pershing was at least to free the east line, Paris-Nancy, with its 
connection along the left bank of the Meuse through St. Mihiel to 
Verdun. During the last week of August the units of the First Army 
came into control of the line on both sides of the salient, from the 
vicinity of Verdun, around the apex on the Meuse, and across the 
narrows between the rivers to Pont-a-Musson on the Moselle. 
Pershing commanded the whole enterprise, his army constituting 
one among the armies of the French group 'of Armies of the North 
and Northeast' commanded by Petain. Petain issued a directive 
making Pershing's plan his own. The French agreed to lend 
artillery, airplanes, and tanks, and to place French divisions as 
needed in the First Army under the American commander. 

The army and the army corps were operating mechanisms 
rather than military entities, and neither was certain to retain its 
components for more than a military moment. The fighting en- 
tities were the divisions, whose number in the A.E.F. was now 
sufficient for Pershing to include fourteen (plus two French 
divisions) and a French army corps in the First Army as it was 
put together in the three weeks after August 10. Grouped in army 
corps, and subject to transfer as need suggested, the resources of 
the divisions were supplemented by those of 'corps troops'; artil- 
lery, engineers, aircraft, and what not, which were administered 
through corps headquarters. The number of divisions to the corps, 
normally six, was often proved to be five or seven. 

Administering the corps, and through the corps the divisions, 
the army organization at the top directed operations. There were 
army troops under the direct command of army headquarters. 
These, like the corps troops, were mostly air and artillery units, 
with detachments from all of the service corps such as tank a signa! 3 


medical, chemical warfare, and occasionally even a little cavalry; 
but this was not a war in which the cavalry commander had a 
chance to ride around the enemy and earn distinction. John 
Buchan, however, in his well-informed and contemporary History 
of the Great War (1922), has a footnote on the Surprising adven- 
tures' of a cavalry substitute, a whippet tank, surnamed 'Musical 
Box/ which pushed through the German front and cruised on its 
own behind the lines. 

Above all line organizations and army services, the General 
Staff from Chaumont represented the Commander in Chief and 
scrutinized everything. Staff officers were everywhere, always 
resented by men of the line, and were like the men of the line in 
being not too well grounded in their business. On their recom- 
mendation commands were changed and orders interfered with 
on slightest suspicion. The whole process of A.E.F. fighting was so 
telescoped in time that while there was much occasion for inter- 
ference there was rarely time to correct injustice. The Commander 
in Chief was a relentless disciplinarian. There was no chance that 
war popularity with his men would lay a foundation for post-war 

That action was in the air was certain. The enemy knew it; 
perhaps somewhat confused by the demonstration staged around 
Belfort. The correspondents in France knew it; but the censors 
would not pass the news. The press in the United States suspected 
it, if for no other reason than that the flow of detail which had 
accompanied the reduction of the Marne salient shrunk suddenly 
at the end of August. Only half a dozen of the American divisions 
had had much combat experience, as such experience went in the 
A.E.F. On the capacity of these, and the untested capacity of the 
others, the success of the enterprise must depend. Getting them to 
the new front was a matter of complex paper work, and much 
explicit profanity on the part of the military police, as they moved 
on crowded roads with truck transport never adequate. Dawes 
was working with his Military Board of Allied Supply upon an 
Allied pool of trucks; but he could not improvise them. 

While the preparation for the St. Mihiel offensive was under 


way, the whole front of the Allies came Into action, in general 
accord with the directive which Foch discussed with the com- 
manders on July 24. There was plenty of news for the American 
press even though the American divisions were for the moment 
out of it. 

Haig put the British armies in motion on August 8. Ever since 
the line was stabilized in the Somme after the drive of March, the 
railway running north from Paris through Amiens had been in 
danger. Direct communication between the French and British 
armies had been impeded. The German front, crossing the Oise 
above Compiegne, had swung around Montdidier and run nearly 
north across the Somme and its branches to Albert. A third battle 
of the Somme now began here, to relieve the railway line and 
recover the ground lost in March. It was successful from the 
start, confirming for Germany what had been foreseen since July 
1 8 the end of the hope of a German victory. Montdidier was 
.retaken early in the drive, with the French helping on the British 
right. The 33d Division, brigaded with the British, had days of 
fighting on the left before it was withdrawn and entrained to join 
the First Army. By the end of August the Somme salient was 
blunted, the Hindenburg Line was crossed in front of Arras, and 
the German withdrawal was accelerated by continuous pressure, 
not ending until the war was over. This was what Haig regarded 
as the major operation, and was the basis for his reluctance to 
approve what he regarded as wasting of the American divisions 
in American adventures. 

Ten days after Haig put on the pressure, up the Somme, prepa- 
rations were completed to supplement his pressure at either side. 
The movements on Soissons (July 18) and on Montdidier (August 
8) had shifted the stresses in the valley of the Oise, where the line 
crossed the river a little above Compiegne. There, back of the 
German front, Noyon was important to the whole region as a rail- 
way and supply center. Mangin, with the Tenth French Army, 
was started up the Oise on August 18. Eleven days later Noyon 
fell, but the pressure did not stop. The fighting in this advance 
confirmed the growing impression of the temper of the A.E.F. 


The 32d Division took Juvigny on August 30; 'fighting for three 
days,' as Petain cited its 64th infantry brigade, 'without stopping, 
without rest and almost without food. 5 Juvigny was not much of 
a village, but was important as an approach to the western end of 
the Chemin des Dames. Well to the right of Juvigny as it fell, the 
28th and the 77th Divisions were advancing across the hills from 
the Vesle to the Aisne, making the eastern end of the Chemin des 
Dames equally precarious. The 28th and 77th had continued on 
the course set across the Marne salient, in the revival of pressure 
here following the lull of August 4. 

On the day after Mangin started up the Oise, August 19, the 
British left moved in the Ypres salient in the direction of Armen- 
tieres. They had feinted here, to mislead the enemy, when Haig 
delivered his main blow above Amiens. The 27th and 3Oth 
Divisions were with the British and were soon on the line. Lille 
and the industrial region of northern France were the Allied 
objectives, while every mile the British could gain would relieve 
the severe compression under which they had labored in Flanders 
from the first. But upon the retention of Lille the orderly evacua- 
tion of the German right depended. Less than twenty miles from 
Ypres, it was not occupied by the British until the middle of 
October, when the Belgian coast had been freed as far as Ostend; 
but the activity on Lille was both continuous and ominous. 
Meanwhile, from Amiens north, the British armies had been 
advancing toward St. Quentin, and were near Peronne before the 
end of August. The Foch directive of July 24 had called for experi- 
mental pressure in many places to be kept up until resistance in 
any one spot should make it useful to deflect it to another point. 
As things worked out, with 286,000 Americans floated in August, 
and 259,000 in September, pressure once started was not obliged 
to cease. German strategic withdrawals became a general retreat, 
with confusion and collapse certain unless the retreat should be 

By the end of August the Allied line was active all the way from 
Reims to Ypres, and the hope was born that the Germans might be 
out of France before winter stopped fighting in the field. The line 


of the Western Front was smoothed, except for the salient at St. 
MihieL More than this, a renewal of the drive behind Saloniki 
was impending, and the Bulgarian front was believed nearly ready 
to collapse. Allenby, in Palestine, was preparing to attack Damas- 
cus. Diaz was considering a resumption of the Italian effort on the 
Piave. But not until the German documents emerged after the 
war was it known that on August 14, following a conference at 
Spa, Ludendorff offered to resign his command and urged the 
Imperial Government to make what peace it could. 

Before the end of August the evidence of success compelled a re- 
examination of the decision taken July 24, whereby the First Army 
was to assemble north of Toul, and to fulfill its mission at the St. 
Mihiel salient. Pershing was again compelled to fight to retain the 
army for whose creation he had so long and so obstinately strug- 
gled. The existence of the salient at St. Mihiel indeed marred the 
symmetry of the Western Front as now reshaped; but the salient 
had lost much of its significance with the German armies yielding 
ground. If the pressure from Reims to the Channel should be con- 
tinued and if reinforcements in quantity should enable it to be in- 
creased, the German withdrawal might be turned to rout. As a 
matter of professional strategic skill the retreat was winning the 
commendation of all military experts. But every mile from which 
the German line drew back, no matter how deadly the rear-guard 
actions, shortened the distance between the battle front and the 
railway lines from which the German force was served. And be- 
hind these railway lines, the Belgian Highlands forbade direct 
retreat. The Germans must go out of France as they came in: 
north of the Highlands or to the south. If Allied artillery should 
be advanced until the lines, and freight yards, and warehouses 
came within range, these last would become untenable. The vital 
flow of men and supplies would cease. German unity would be 
superseded by confusion as the forces crowded on the detours that 
would take them home. 

The need for heavy mobile guns was among the problems of the 
ordnance departments of both Army and Navy. Several months 
before the German long-range guns, from fixed emplacements in 


the vicinity of Laon, threw their shells sixty-eight miles into 
Paris, both branches of the American services were constructing 
mounts, designing guns, and converting heavy calibers built for 
coast defense or Navy use so that they might follow the armies in 
the field. Pershing had requisitioned many to be available in 1919. 
The Navy had five such, fourteen-inch guns, sixty feet long, ready 
to take their place behind American line in September, 1918. 
Heaviest of all the field guns available to the Allies, they had 
shorter range than the 'Big Berthas' which shelled Paris on March 
24, 1918, but unlike the German guns which required built-up em- 
placements they were mobile, each on its own special train. 
Manned by Navy gun crews they could fire within ten minutes of 
bringing the train into position. Foreknowledge of these affected 
Pershing' s view of strategy. The Navy guns had a range of twenty- 
five miles; the distance from the base of the St. Mihiel salient to 
Metz was considerably less. 

From Metz to Lille, vulnerable wherever they could be reached, 
ran the French railways whose seizure in 1914 had enabled Ger- 
many to convert them to the service of its own armies. Whereas 
the French front was commonly served by lines at right angles to it, 
which could be simply shortened when retreat was unavoidable, 
the continuance of the German armies in France was based upon 
the continuous operation of a railroad system parallel to the Ger- 
man front. The system made a first-class base for victorious 
action, but its very nature made retreat doubly hazardous. 

On August 30, Pershing as commander of the First Army took 
over his sector, and on the same day he was visited by Foch who 
bore proposals that the St. Mihiel enterprise should be modified 
because of the change in the military situation. It was of con- 
sequence that the French railways along the Upper Meuse should 
be regained, and that communication should flow unimpeded 
from Paris to Nancy. But the French had managed for four years 
to get along with this line blocked. It could endure it a little 
longer. St. Mihiel was no longer feared as a base from which 
Germany could throw confusion among the Allies. The salient 
was reputed to be impregnable. If effort upon it should fail, it 


would entail useless loss. If it should succeed, it could do little 
more than make a beginning of an attack upon Metz, where Al- 
lied investments might yield less valuable returns than could be 
got by reinforced pressure west of Verdun. It was in the Valley 
of the Aisne, Foch believed, that the Tate of the 1918 campaign 
will be decided.' He wanted Pershing to get through with what he 
had to do at St. Mihiel as cheaply and as quickly as he could, so 
that most of the American divisions might be shifted to participate 
in operations on the front between Verdun and Noyon. Noyon 
had fallen to the Tenth French Army the day before Foch's visit, 
and the line ran almost straight thence to the Meuse at Verdun. 
Forty miles ahead of it lay the German railway junctions, Hirson 
and Mezieres, upon whose smooth operation depended the security 
of the German front. 

There was merit in the contention of Foch, even though it in- 
volved one more postponement of action by the 'separate com- 
ponent.' But it involved, also, the near certainty that if independ- 
ent action should now be stopped, the time to undertake it would 
not recur. 

Between the Aisne-Vesle front, a new line every day, and the 
railways of German supply, lay the French Departement of Ar- 
dennes, up whose grades the French battle was to be fought. It had 
been fought over in 1914, occupied by the invader ever since, dug 
into fortifications, and was to be shot to pieces as the autumn of 
1918 advanced. When the French reconstruction services took 
over the task of reimbursement of citizens who had suffered loss, it 
was found that of 741,993 houses destroyed or damaged in the ten 
invaded Departements, 78,000 were in Ardennes. From the owners 
of these, and of other property damaged in Ardennes, came 
247,567 claims for restoration, to be passed through cantonal 
commissions, to be heard on appeal, and to be awarded more than 
four billion francs by the Republic. L. Lucien Hubert, in La 
Renaissance d*un departement devaste (1924), has told the story, typical 
of all of northern France. To get the Germans out of France, and 
to bring back into production in farm and factory the sixteen per 
cent of the population who had paid eighteen per cent of all French 


taxes before 1914, was vital to French interest; more vital than the 
feelings of the American commander who had appeared to the 
Republic to come too late and to want too much. 

The reaction of Pershing to the new proposal was immediate 
and determined. Foch wanted to limit the attack to an advance 
upon the south face of St. Mihiel, in place of simultaneous ad- 
vance upon both faces and at the tip. When the operation was 
over, the A.E.F. was to have to hold only another quiet sector. 
Metz and the mines of Briey and Longwy were out of the picture 
as Foch saw it. It may be true that he desired to get the enemy out 
of the mines by maneuver rather than by combat which would 
destroy them. He clung to his demand for a limited attack even 
on the south face, while Pershing clung to his point of the inde- 
pendent army and complete maneuver. The latter was ready to 
fight where needed, but only c as an American army, and in no 
other way. 3 When Foch reproached him for his shortage of artil- 
lery and service troops, he reminded the Generalissimo that 
France had begged to supply the artillery, having more than it 
could use, and that the shipment of service troops had been cut 
down to meet what the Allies described as temporary emergency. 
There was a show-down on the thirtieth. Pershing believed that 
when Foch left his headquarters Very pale and apparently ex- 
hausted' the latter had allowed himself to be persuaded by some- 
one to take the stand he did, and he thought Petain agreed with 
him as to the importance of complete action at the salient, but 
believed that it would be unwise to proceed toward Metz. 

Three days later, September 2, Pershing and Petain went into 
conference with Foch, at the Bombon headquarters of Petain, and 
there the atmosphere was cleared. The Metz project was cancelled, 
in order to permit the First Army under Pershing to take part in a 
general movement west of the Meuse after St. Mihiel. The whole 
of the St. Mihiel salient was left under American command for the 
completion of the First Army operation which Pershing had been 
preparing since August 10. The Commander in Chief went back 
to American headquarters with double weight of responsibility 
upon him: he must not only win his battle, but he must also win 


it so completely as to justify his determination not to let it be inter- 
fered with by the different strategic desire of Foch. He carried on 
two operations for the next two weeks; in one capacity he made 
the arrangements for a shift of his whole fighting strength to the 
new field west of Verdun; in the other he safeguarded the St. 
Mihiel operation upon whose success his status as a commander 
probably depended. No one has brought to light the alleged 
memorandum in which Foch asked that Pershing be relieved by 
an American more pliable; but it may exist. What the British 
really felt about the enterprise Pershing learned when Lord Read- 
ing talked with him on September 6, stressing the advantage to 
be derived by having the American force in operation near the 
British; and when General Diaz, asking for twenty American 
divisions for the Italian front, interrupted himself to ask for 
twenty-five. But Diaz himself did not expect to be able to attack 
on his own front until the spring of 1919. There was satisfaction, 
though melancholy, to be derived by Pershing from the informa- 
tion of his Chief Surgeon, Merritte W. Ireland, that 100,000 
hospital beds were ready. 

While Foch and the American Commander in Chief were 
debating whether the battle of St. Mihiel should not be number 
three among the American battles never to be fought, the staff of 
the First Army was bringing additional divisions from the French 
and British rears, to supplement the efforts of the divisions already 
north of Toul. Once the decision was reached on September 2, 
Foch did his part. Artillery and aircraft sufficient for the attack 
were made available; the latter to be commanded by Colonel 
William Mitchell, Chief of Air Service; the former to be under 
Major-General Edward F. McGlachlin, Jr., Chief of Artillery. 
The First Army was short of tanks; and those which it had were 

As the salient lay within the wings of the First Army, its western 
face along the Meuse below St. Mihiel was on high hills east of the 
river, from which German artillery could cover both the Valley of 
the Meuse and the Woevre Plain sloping behind the hills toward 
Metz. The south face cut across between the rivers to the Moselle, 


just below Pont-a-Musson. Behind the German front lines were 
fortifications, wire entanglements, defensive positions in the rear; 
and behind all these the defenses of Metz. There were enough 
defenses to throw doubt upon the ability of the drive, once started, 
to have been continued to victory at Metz. It was later learned 
that Germany was prepared to evacuate the salient if it should be 
attacked. Sharp German writers have blurred the success of the 
First Army by insisting that withdrawal was under way when the 
blow fell. American critics of the engagement have found captured 
German orders contradicting the claim, while the troops partici- 
pating had no reason to believe they were taking part in a rear- 
guard action. 

The four corps of the First Army, as they faced the salient, had 
various functions assigned them in the orders which were drafted, 
examined, redrafted, and handed to their commanders. On the 
extreme left, and nearest to Verdun, the Fifth Corps, with the 4th, 
French Colonial i5th, and 2 6th Divisions (from left to right), held 
the angle where the salient jutted south from the main front. 
They were to cross the heights, and the 2 6th was to press into the 
salient. On their right the Second French Colonial Corps held the 
tip at St. Mihiel and ten miles on either side, with mission to keep 
occupied the German divisions which they faced. The main ad- 
vance was entrusted to the Fourth Corps, at the right of the 
French, and to the First Corps extending from its right to the 
Moselle, and designed to act as pivot. On the line for the Fourth 
Corps were the ist, 42d, and 8gth. Of these the 8gth, well trained 
by Leonard Wood, had completed no more than its tour of quiet 
duty on a sector in Lorraine. The First Corps had on the line the 
2d, 5th, goth, and the 82d. The 5th, goth, and 82d, like the 8gth, 
had not seen duty on an active front. Of the nine divisions upon 
which Pershing staked his untried reputation as a field com- 
mander, four were untried in action. In all of the divisions there 
were troops newly assigned, and of these some had not even re- 
ceived the full training of private soldiers. 

The main attack, launched early on the morning of September 
12, fell upon the center of the south face, midway between the 


rivers. There was enough preliminary artillery fire to disturb the 
enemy without giving him time to bring up reserve divisions before 
the infantry advanced. The most experienced of the divisions, ist, 
sd, and 42d, were at the spearhead. The Secretary of War, Trom 
his observation point near the battlefield/ was given the chance to 
watch more of a battle than was usually possible. Before night on 
the twelfth the divisions on the south face had reached the lines 
drawn on the staff maps for the second day's objectives. Before 
daybreak on the thirteenth the German divisions in the pocket 
were in confusion and the roads out of the salient were blocked 
to north and west. Pershing reported the capture of some 450 
guns and 16,000 prisoners, at a cost of 7000 casualties. By after- 
noon on the 1 3th all that was left to be done was to correct the new 
line across the base of the reduced salient, so that it could be held 
after the First Army shifted its position across the Meuse to get into 
place for the next engagement. 

There remains some reasonable doubt as to the military neces- 
sity of the risk taken at St. Mihiel, considering the situation along 
the Allied front in the first week of September; doubt not entirely 
dispelled by complete success. But there is no doubt that the 
existence of the 'separate component' depended upon the risk 
being taken. The success gave inspiration to men and leaders, 
and to the Americans at home, who, after the event, heard 
enough about it to compensate for the mystifying silence that had 
preceded the first independent operation of the First Army. 



JL HE character of John J. Pershing, rather than his military 
ability as a commander, stands out in clear visibility. It was his 
persistence that gave to the American effort in France the shape it 
took. No one can prove that the effort might not have been more 
effective if of a different shape. No one can know enough about 
Pershing to know where to place his professional talents in com- 
parison with those of his colleagues in command, Haig and 
Petain, or with those of his superior, Foch. There is material 
enough to provide foundation for a first-class military reputation 
in his administrative achievement whereby two million men were 
brought to the support of the Allied line of battle, and in his direc- 
tion of a battle lasting for seven weeks. But he had no chance to 
uncover talents in the larger strategy, or to reveal lasting qualities 
through the ups and downs of successive campaigns in the 

It is as impossible to prove Pershing's rating as a general as it is 
to prove the degree to which the American reinforcement made it 
possible to defeat the enemy. Thrown by the strategy of his chief 
into a holding position not of his own choosing in the last engage- 
ment of the war, Pershing did more than hold. The human 
weight of the forces under his command was at least a vital factor 
in victory; the economic weight contributed by the American 
Government was another; the unity of direction, to which the 
United States had contributed greatly, was still a third. But the 
victory in the field which broke the Central Powers was the victory 
of a team in which the abstraction of co-operation was perhaps 
more significant than the weight of any single concrete factor. 
Upon the elimination of the salient at St. Mihiel, Foch acquired 

September 26-November n, 1918 


control of the final chapter of the war. The picture of the Ameri- 
can share in the events of the last seven weeks gives, of necessity, 
some distortion of its significance; for great and successful as the 
American effort was, it was only one among many efforts, and 
owed as much to the timing of the others as they owed to it. 

On the Allied left, as the American divisions were pulled out of 
the St. Mihiel line and redistributed, the King of the Belgians was 
preparing for a major effort. The one monarch to take the field in 
person, Albert had a group of armies, Belgian, British, and French. 
He had also, eventually, the syth and gist American divisions 
which contributed something to his success. The Allied gains of 
August, pushing the Germans back from Amiens, Montdidier, and 
Chateau-Thierry, had so endangered the German right that its 
withdrawal was begun early in September as the German High 
Command sought some defensible line in France upon which to 
come to rest for the winter months. As Foch came progressively 
into control of the initiative, the hope grew that the enemy might 
be out of France before winter; and one by one the lines prepared 
in the rear of the German armies were reached and passed. 
Aggressive pursuit made it impossible for the retreating armies to 
stop. While Pershittg did his job with the First Army at St. 
Mihiel, the armies of Albert were making ready to leave the 
trenches for a follow-up in the open. The decision reached at 
Bombon on September 2 called for similar and simultaneous 
action along the whole Western Front, On the early morning of 
September 28 the armies on the left began to move; and to move so 
successfully that after three days they were forced to pause to 
organize a new rear, to marshal into prison camps their thousands 
of captives, to dispose of 'materiel of war abandoned by the German 
armies as they yielded ground, and to build service roads across 
country so fought-over that it was desolate. In October Albert's 
armies advanced again, reaching by the eighteenth Ostend and 
Bruges, with the whole Belgian Channel coast in Allied hands. 
On November 1 1 the 37th and -gist Divisions were in the line when 
it came to rest across the Scheldt River, east of Audenarde. 

The right wing of Albert's group was the British Second Army, 


which advanced from the vicinity of Ypres. Lille, in its front, was 
evacuted by October 18. 

Next to the right, in the general advance at the end of Septem- 
ber, the British armies under Haig resumed activity in the recovery 
movement which they had begun on August 8. The British Fourth 
Army (Rawlinson) had started it, east and southeast from Amiens, 
heading toward St. Quentin. In the ensuing weeks the fan-shaped 
movement had broadened, right and left. French armies on the 
right had extended it toward Reims. Left of Rawlinson 5 s army 
the British Third Army (Byng), First Army (Home), and Fifth 
Army (Birdwood) spread the engagement to Armentieres on the 
River Lys. Here Birdwood's left joined the right of Plumer's 
Second British Army which was under King Albert. As all pre- 
pared in mid-September for the British part in the general ad- 
vance, they had immediately in their front, behind the German 
lines, Lille on the left, Cambrai on the River Scheldt, and to the 
right of Cambrai the St. Quentin tunnel through which passes 
the canal connecting the headwaters of the Scheldt with those of 
the Somme. 

If there was any one 'key 5 to the Hindenburg Line, back to 
which the German armies had made a strategic withdrawal early 
in 1917 and from which had started the opening drive of March 
21, 1918, it was here. The ancient tunnel built by Napoleon 
and its canal were worked into the defensive system. The deep 
cut through which the canal runs was a fortification in itself. 
The tunnel provided coverage for troops and storage for supplies, 
and ingenious death-traps for enemy troops that might try to 
penetrate it. The adjacent country was netted with wire, ranged 
by machine-gun nests, and covered by artillery on the heights. 
It lay in the zone of Rawlinson's Fourth Army; and two days be- 
fore the British action became general Rawlinson sent against the 
outposts two American divisions borrowed from the A.E.F. 

The syth and 3Oth Divisions, both organized around National 
Guard units, and the former unusual" in being still commanded by a 
general officer from the National Guard, Major-General John F. 
O'Ryan, saw their combat service as the Second Army Corps 


under Major-General George W. Read. Not always trusted by 
the High Command of the A.E.F., the National Guard divisions 
were used profitably by the British and the French, when they 
could get them. The British had learned how to deal with Austra- 
lian and other Dominion levies under their own commanders. 
Continuously with the British, these two divisions were attached 
to the Second British Army in front of Ypres at the end of August. 
Transferred to Rawlinson's Fourth Army in September, they were 
selected by him for a preliminary testing of the German defenses on 
September 27, and for the advance upon the canal and tunnel 
when the British armies moved in force on September 29. There 
were thirty British divisions fighting with them. John Charteris, 
biographer of Field Marshal Earl Haig (1929), counts 35,500 
prisoners taken on September 29-30, when the Hindenburg Line 
was crushed. The Guardsmen had an admirer in their gallery, who 
came to see the front and found a battle. Sir Arthur Conan 
Doyle, there on a visit, opened his letter to the London Times 
about it with 'Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the 
Lord.' Doyle returned to London to complete six volumes of a 
popular History of the Great War (1920), in which he mingled his 
pride in the Americans with that in the Australians, who fought 
beside them; but he left it to 'some Antipodean historian 5 to tell 
the story in detail. For more than three weeks the American 
divisions stayed in the line and out as the British armies kept up 
their pressure until on November 9 they entered Maubeuge, and 
on the eleventh, Mons. Maubeuge was significant as a railway 
junction on the main retreating line, north of the Ardennes, upon 
which Germany relied for its service through Liege to Cologne. 
Mons had a more sentimental value. Here the legendary angels 
had appeared in August, 1914, when the Germans pressed Haig 
back in the first British battle of the war. 

To the right of the British armies, the armies of France in the 
last week of September held the line from St. Quentin to the edge 
of the Argonne Forest, east of the Aisne. In a long, smooth, con- 
cave curve they faced St. Quentin and Laon at their left; but east of 
Laon was no near town of importance. The great curve of the 


westward-flowing Aisne ran across most of their front, cutting a 
southern segment off the Departement of the Ardennes. A northern 
segment of the same departement, cut off by the Meuse,, contained 
the railway junction of Mezieres, where the main military railway 
of the German front was reached by a branch running down the 
Meuse to Namur, and thence through Liege to Cologne. Here, 
too, was Sedan; and no Frenchman could fail to pray that be- 
fore the war should end, the humiliating surrender of 1870 might 
be avenged by the recapture of Sedan. It was one of the minor 
ironies of the war that when it did end, Sedan had not been 
entered by the Allies. American troops had been near enough to 
take it, but had been ordered back. The French, after warning 
their 'brave neighbors 5 to stand aside with the grim sentence, T 
am obliged to use my artillery in that region,' had failed to do 
more than look down upon Sedan, on November n, from the 
hills across the Meuse. Mezieres, however, had been taken, giving 
France the reality of victory if not the sentiment. 

Of the four French armies in the group to the right of Haig, 
those of Debeney, Mangin, Berthelot, and Gouraud, it was the 
last that headed toward Mezieres and Sedan, with the additional 
mission of keeping in touch with the First American Army at its 
right. Petain had made free use of American divisions during the 
reduction of the Marne salient, surrendering them as they were 
drawn away in August to be used against St. Mihiel. Moving across 
Champagne toward the Meuse and the French border, the 
French reborrowed two divisions. Gouraud was timed to resume 
his advance as Pershing opened his own battle on September 26. 
The French right was retarded by resistance unexpectedly de- 
sperate along the Upper Aisne. Pershing sent Gouraud the 2d 
and the 36th; the former staying on the line for a week to take 
Blanc Mont and St. Etienne-a-Arnes, the latter relieving the sd 
and continuing to the Aisne at Attigny on October 27. For the 
sd Division this was but one of many assignments. For the Texas 
and Oklahoma Guardsmen of the 36th, their three weeks with 
Gouraud constituted their first engagement and their last. By 
mid-October Gouraud' s right and Pershing's left were out of the 

September 26-November n, 1918 


Argonne Forest and in co-operation between Grandpre on the 
Aire and Vouziers on the Aisne, above Attigny. 

The American part in the general engagement at the end of Sep- 
tember was on the pivotal position at the extreme right of the ad- 
vancing line, which was to play 'crack the whip'; with the armies 
of Albert on the free end at the left. The quiet sectors east of the 
Moselle were expected to remain quiet, although after the Ameri- 
can bluff at Belfort the Germans anticipated a drive upon Metz. 
Where the front line crossed the heights east of the Meuse, below 
the fortifications of Verdun, the pivoting was to begin. West of the 
Meuse, and thence to a junction with the army of Gouraud on the 
farther edge of the Argonne Forest, was the front across which the 
American First Army was designed to swing north and north- 
east, keeping its left in step with the wider swing of the French, 
British, and Belgian armies. Of the two hundred miles of active 
front between Verdun and the Channel, twenty-four were in 
Pershing's hands. 

The terrain facing the First Army, when the whole line was set 
in motion, was the most refractory section of the front. Most 
difficult to take, with its hills, ravines, rivers, and forests, it was 
easiest to hold. Easiest to hold, it was for the German armies the 
most important sector to be held, since here the Allied front lay 
nearest to the railway arteries upon which depended the free circu- 
lation of German army life. Heavy guns at Verdun could almost 
reach the freight yards of railway lines connecting Metz with 
Sedan-Mezieres. Only a few miles of Allied advance here were 
needed to make the railways untenable and to break the German 
front. The country in front of the Americans was fortified to be 
held until the end. Beyond it were concentrated German troops 
perhaps twice as heavily as elsewhere on the line; not because of 
fear of American prowess, but in recognition of the vital nature of 
the spot. 

The A.E.F. had been pulled back from the attack on Metz 
because Metz was deemed impregnable. The region of the Meuse- 
Argonne was equally impregnable so far as military foreknowledge 
could anticipate. If the American forces had merely held their 


line, enabling the extension of the Allied front to swing without 
fear of being flanked from the right, they might have fulfilled a 
reasonable mission. That they should do more than this, and 
make an essential stroke for victory, was assumed at Chaumont, 
whether or not it was expected at Senlis and Bombon. When they 
did much in the forty-seven days, having been counted on for 
little, they were censured for not doing more. The concentration 
of American divisions in the First Army was begrudged by Allied 
commanders, who had taken samples of the divisions and would 
have been glad to use them all. Pershing had, after all, a limited 
experience as a commander; but it was of the hardest. 

After the Bombon decision of September 2, the commander of 
the First Army had two operations on his agenda. The first was 
vital to him, the second to the war. So much depended upon the 
reduction of St. Mihiel that the operation must not be allowed to 
fail. But while he prepared to make the operation a success it was 
necessary to arrange a new First Army crew to open the new en- 
gagement, drawing heavily upon divisions which had not seen 
even as much of combat as those used at St. Mihiel. Foch watched 
with both understanding and apprehension the shifts necessary to 
'all improvised armies,' recognizing the degree to which the 
American commander lacked not only experienced commanders 
of corps and division, but also trained staff officers to direct their 

With the St. Mihiel salient eliminated, it was not possible to 
withdraw divisions for several days, lest a serious German counter- 
stroke should undo the victory. The nine divisions engaged in the 
reduction nine out of the twenty-nine that were used in com- 
bat required reorganization hardly to be completed in a fort- 
night. It was impracticable to refill their ranks, reshuffle their 
officers (no one of them received a new commander), and shift 
them to positions on the front line west of the Meuse, in time for 
action again on September 26. 

Back of the twenty-four-mile front whence the new line was to 
be set in motion, divisions were to be brought up for the line, for 
the corps reserves, and for the army reserve. They came from 

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other positions on the fighting fronts, from quiet sectors in Lor- 
raine, from training areas where they had not yet learned how to 
function as divisions. They came with borrowed artillery, bor- 
rowed aircraft, borrowed tanks. Army trucks carried 428,000 of 
their men, with an average haul of forty-eight miles. In all, 
600,000 troops were moved into the line to replace 220,000 who 
had held it until now. 

The railways and the roads that carried them had to have each 
its time-table and its military police to handle traffic at every 
intersection. The movements had to be in as profound secrecy and 
silence as are possible in a war where the enemy has eyes in the air 
and tapped telephone wires on the ground. At St. Mihiel military 
necessity had compelled the use of four out of nine divisions that 
had not seen battle. Four out of nine, again, as the line was ar- 
ranged for the morning of September 26, had had no more experi- 
ence than could be got from trench occupation on an inactive 

The arrangements for the general advance, in which the A.E.F. 
was to co-operate, assigned to the First Army a zone extending 
from the western edge of the Argonne Forest eastwardly to the 
Moselle, where some of the American divisions were still on guard 
along the new line established after St. Mihiel. Over some ninety- 
four miles of front, Pershing was in command; but the ninety- 
four miles broke down into three sections of variant character. 
The moving front, twenty-four miles, ran from the junction with 
Gouraud to the Meuse River, nine miles as the crow flies below 
Verdun. East of the Meuse, the fortified area around Verdun was 
occupied by the Seventeenth French Army Corps, for which no 
immediate advance was contemplated. Farther east, the Second 
French and the Fourth American Army Corps (each embracing 
troops of both nationalities) held a generally quiet line, with the 
Fourth Corps (Dickman) having its right on the Moselle. 

It was behind the moving front, ready to slip into position as 
few hours as possible before the guns began, that the nine Ameri- 
can divisions were prepared for the 'jump-off.* They were lined 


77 th-2 8th-35th 9 1 st-3 7 th-ygth 4th-8oth-33d 
First Corps Fifth Corps Third Corps 

Liggett Cameron Bullard 

Each of the divisions had its mission, described in orders and 
illustrated with maps which, unhappily, would not always check 
with the terrain. Each had before it a e no-manVland/ almost 
without roads, beyond which lay the enemy. Each had an ob- 
jective, to be reached over unfamiliar country. There had been 
little reconnoitering, since reconnaissance on any large scale would 
have advertised intention to the enemy. And each corps was held 
to the rule that any advance beyond the objective named in the 
orders was forbidden. 

The line of the A.E.F. began on the left with the 77th, 2 8th, and 
35th Divisions, constituting the First Army Corps (Liggett). Of 
these, the 77th, whose affectionate commander, Major-General 
Robert Alexander, characterized his men as c hardy backwoodsmen 
from the Bowery, Fifth Avenue, and Hester Street, 5 was to hold the 
forest while the other divisions of the corps should 'reduce the 
Foret (TArgonne by flanking it from the east. 3 The 77th took off 
in the middle of twenty-two miles of a forest six miles wide, 
covering the hogback between the Aisne and its tributary, the 
Aire. Until the common front should have been pushed north of 
the forest and the junction of the rivers just beyond it, the hogback 
would constitute a bastion impeding operations. Alexander had 
four and a half miles of divisional front, and discovered, once 
started on his way, that the flanking process was a failure. Neither 
the French division on his left nor the 28th Division on his right 
could do on schedule the work assigned it. Gouraud had troubles 
of his own; and the portion of the gad Division charged with 
maintaining connection between his right and the left of Alex- 
ander failed to connect. The New York troops (New York, by 
courtesy only, since at the last minute the 77th had absorbed 
nearly 4000 replacements, mostly California men) found them- 
selves bound to flounder through the forest, picking out by hand 
and in detail the enemy that should have been flanked from his 
ravines and machine-gun nests. It continued at the task through 


fifteen days of uninterrupted work, in a little war of its own, with- 
out contact on either flank. It had its high spot when a New York 
lawyer, Whittlesey by name, found himself with a lone battalion 
ahead of the divisional line, and isolated. Whittlesey dug in, and 
defied the world (in the form of German guns on all four sides) 
until after six days the line caught up to him. Famed as the e lost 
battalion/ his battalion was never lost. It knew only too well just 
where it was, and its division knew. It put up white signs for air- 
craft beacons; and when the enemy construed these as overtures 
for surrender, it pulled them down, and preferred to starve until 

Next to the 77th, the 28th Division (Pennsylvania, National 
Guard) undertook to advance down the right edge of the Argonne 
Forest, on the left bank of the Aire. The 35th (Missouri, Kansas, 
National Guard), new to fighting, was across the Aire to its right. 
Working as a team, the two were commissioned to flank the enemy 
out of the hogback; it being assumed that Gouraud, on the other 
side of the Argonne Forest, would carry out his half of the flanking 
operation, until the German troops occupying the bastion should 
be withdrawn from their untenable position. The 35th, at the 
right of the First Corps, was also to maintain contact with the left 
of the Fifth Corps (Cameron). From Vauquois, immediately in 
front of the 35th at the 'jump-off,' to Varennes, two miles north, 
where the main road crosses the Aire and descends the river on its 
right bank, the team advanced. But the Germans in the forest, 
far from being flanked out, discovered that the enemy had ad- 
vanced into easy range. Deadly gunfire from the left cut across 
the 28th and the 35th. What was intended to be carried with a 
rush had to be taken in detail. The left of the 28th could not get 
far enough into the forest to establish liaison with the right of the 
77th. The advance of the First Army, on its left, bogged down. 

Cameron's Corps (Fifth) was expected to make the major ad- 
vance. The hill, Montfaucon, four miles in front of it was the 
immediate objective. Before great reinforcements could be thrown 
into the German line, it was hoped to reach the road beyond 
Montfaucon which cut across between the Aire and the Meuse, 


from Varennes to Dun-sur-Meuse, and to take Romagne 
heights, forest, and village. On the line of the Fifth Corps were 
the gist (Pacific Coast, National Army), 3yth ('Buckeye/ the 
Ohio National Guard), and ygth (Middle States, National Guard) 
Divisions, none of which had been in action. Pershing thought it 
reasonable 'to count on the vigor and the aggressive spirit of our 
troops/ and let these take the place of 'technical skill. 3 The initial 
orders of the corps assigned it more than could be accomplished 
in the time allowed. The ruins of the town of Montfaucon, after 
the greatest of American battles had swept across them, were to 
provide a site for the most impressive of the American war memori- 
als in France. On the outskirts of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, 
the geometric ranks of fourteen thousand marble crosses were to 
tell something of the story of the men who fought in the battle and 
remained forever in France. The height of Montfaucon, at the 
least a dangerous enemy observation post, proved to be a center of 
resistance, holding back the Fifth Corps long enough for the 
whole German front to be stiffened. Stiffened here, and held per- 
sistently in the Argonne, the German line prevented the First 
Army from completing in a rush the first operation which was to 
have set up a new line north of the Argonne, from Grandpre to 
Romagne, ten miles from the 'jump-off. 3 

The Third Corps (Bullard) came into position at the right of 
Cameron, with a mission to pivot on the Meuse. At its left, the 
4th Division (which had taken part at St. Mihiel) made the longest 
advance, with Montfaucon well on its left. The 8oth Division at 
the corps center, with drafted men mostly from Virginia, swung to 
the right as it advanced, until it faced the Meuse. The 3$d (Bell, 
Illinois, National Guard) pivoted on its own right, through ninety 
degrees, until it was lined along the Meuse and facing east. Only 
the Third Corps reached its objective on time. Its order directed 
it to 'assist in neutralizing hostile observation and hostile fire 
from the heights east of the Meuse.' But just as the German guns 
on the east slope of the Argonne ridge held to their stations to en- 
filade the s8th and 35th, the other German guns, on the heights 
east of the Meuse and not even attacked^ enfiladed the Third 


Corps from its right as its divisions changed the direction of the 
First Army front. 

The memoirs of the commanders and their official reports, 
naturally enough, emphasize the dimensions of the accomplish- 
ment of the First Army when it went into action on the morning 
of Thursday, September 26, 1918. Just as naturally they fail to 
stress the difference between the hope of Ghaumont while the 
orders were being drafted and the reality in the field at the end of 
the first, second, third, and fourth days of combat. The divisional 
historians, and they are legion, dwell upon the difficulties due to 
inexperience, poor liaison, slack team-work with the artillery, and 
refractory terrain. Every mile gained made it harder to bring up 
supplies and to evacuate the wounded. The artillery at the begin- 
ning had selected positions and acknowledged range. As divisions 
advanced into the forests, not knowing themselves quite where 
they were, the guns could not know how to cover them. As the 
guns were advanced over roadless devastation, to catch-as-catch- 
can new stations, the artillerymen were late in readiness to resume 
their fire, and when ready were uncertain where to shoot. Signal 
corps crews trailed wires to batteries and outposts with personal 
heroism greater than their accuracy. Runners started with mes- 
sages through the woods without getting to their destinations. 
Officers lost their units. Units mislaid their posts of command. 
The writers, loyal to their units, pass the buck, each to the flanking 
divisions, for failure to keep step. From one side is stressed the in- 
experience of training-camp officers and the stubborn ineptness of 
National Guard officers; from the other, the unfitness of many of 
the Regulars who were ordered to relieve Guardsmen alleged to 
have broken down. Pershing has described 'the vast network of 
uncut barbwire, the deep ravines, dense woods, myriads of shell 
craters, and a heavy fog 5 that impeded advance. The difficulties 
of the first hours were chiefly due to these factors and to the factor 
of inexperience, for Pershing testifies that 'the strength of the 
attack came as a complete surprise to the enemy and his forward 
positions were quickly overrun by our troops.* 
At the end of four days the gains were great, though less than 


had been hoped; and to the west of the First Army the whole 
Allied front was busy at its task. The outcome of the initial push 
was a new line where German resistance had held it, fatigued 
divisions of which some had to be replaced, and a restive Foch who 
still believed that Pershing was less competent than another to 
command the American effort. A letter was sent, with Weygand 
to reinforce it, suggesting a change in mission and scope for the 
First Army. Let it surrender the divisions of its left to a French 
army that should command both sides of the Argonne, and let it 
concentrate what divisions remained upon its right, on both sides 
of the Meuse. The letter was written on Monday, September 30, 
the day after Clemenceau had followed up victory by visitation. 
He had started for Montfaucon, taken later than expected, yet 
taken on Friday. Prime Ministers were not welcome anywhere in 
the midst of battle or close behind a dangerous front, but the old 
man had insisted on going. He was turned back by traffic. In 
addition to the heavy congestion due to ordinary supply from rear 
to front, the First Division was making a difficult march across the 
lines serving the Fifth Corps to a new station at the right of the 
First Corps. A less experienced observer than Clemenceau, and a 
less stubborn one (for he liked to do what he liked to do), might 
have been forgiven for carrying home the notion that American 
supply had broken down. Between Sunday, when Clemenceau saw 
the jam, and the next Friday, the service of the front was obscured 
by the cloud of traffic as tired divisions were pulled back and relief 
divisions were sent ahead. Pershing was clear in his vision of what 
was happening and what he proposed to do. There was no com- 
pliance with the suggestion Weygand discussed with Pershing on 
October i. There was no pressure from Washington for compli- 
ance. Baker, in Europe on the business of the 1919 campaign and 
fresh from exposure to all the British arguments for amalgamation, 
wrote to Pershing on October 2 the comforting words: 'that the 
American Army as such was the thing we were trying to create. 9 
He had been blunt with Lloyd George, telling him that 'we had no 
intention of feeding our soldiers into the French or British Army.* 
The Argonne and the Meuse remained for the American com- 


rnander essential parts of an Indivisible whole and his army re- 
mained his own. The line between the 77th and the 336. con- 
stituted the base of a triangle, whose right side was the River 
Meuse, and at whose apex forty-five miles ahead was Mezieres. 
Instead of breaking the unity of the operation by assenting to the 
detachment of his left, Pershing drew upon his reserves to reconsti- 
tute his line. The 77th was allowed to work out its mission in the 
Argonne. The 28th was left in place, patched with dependable 
Regular officers. The 35th, which had gone to pieces as, with 
both flanks exposed, it had pushed for four days down the Aire, 
was withdrawn, to be sent after rebuilding to a quiet sector. In its 
place the ist Division, which had been held in army reserve, was 
pushed in between the 28th and the gist. The 37th was replaced by 
the more experienced 32d, and before the end of October it was 
dispatched with the gist to the assistance of the King of the Bel- 
gians. The 7gth was replaced by the 3d Division, of Chateau- 
Thierry fame. The Both was temporarily withdrawn. 

Delayed, but not at all dismayed, Pershing prepared to resume 
advance in force. The enemy had imposed upon him a line and 
had reinforced it. On his left the 77th was still to be brought out 
of the forest to Grandpre. In his center the heights of Romagne 
blocked the advance of the Fifth Corps, as it faced the Kriemhilde 
Stellung. On his right, the Third Corps, with some eight miles of 
front along the Meuse, was under continuous gunfire from German 
batteries. The line of Grandpre-Romagne had to be established 
and the German guns had to be dislodged east of the Meuse, before 
the next grand phase of his battle could be undertaken. He held 
stubbornly to Mezieres-Sedan as his destination, but until he could 
construct a smoothed front, until Gouraud should project it to 
the west, and until the heights of the Meuse should be in Allied 
hands, he could not advance upon it. He depleted his reserves by 
lending Gouraud the sd and 36th Divisions, and he counted on the 
line before him twenty-seven depleted German divisions, all of 
which were smaller than his when they were full. He had in the 
A.E.F. on September 30, 71,172 officers, 1,634,220 enlisted men. 

On October 4 he struck again with his line repaired and with 


all participants educated by the experiences of the first week to the 
supreme necessity for liaison. There were eight divisions on his 
revised front, still in the same three army corps: 

First Corps Fifth Corps Third Corps 

Liggett Cameron Bullard 

He was approaching now the complicated positions of the Hinden- 
burg Line. The four great defense positions of the German armies, 
converging upon Metz, were far enough apart at the western end 
of the Allied front to permit regions of relatively open country 
between them. There was some room for maneuver. But at 
Pershing's end, where the positions were packed together east of the 
Aisne, the rear of one was interlocked with the front of the one 
behind it. The most advanced was the line attacked on September 
26. The second ran through Montfaucon. The third, the Kriem- 
hilde Stellung, cutting across on the line Grandpre-Romagne- 
Brieulles, had been picked by the First Army as the limit of its 
first operation. Beyond it, the fourth and last, in front of Buzancy 
and Dun-sur-Meuse, became increasingly important to Germany 
as the others fell. What had been hoped to be carried in a rush 
was not yet gained when after refurbishing the First Army ad- 
vanced on October 4. It took a second period of rush, pause, 
reorganization, and attack on October 14, before Grandpre and 
Romagne were in American hands. And after this, yet another 
period of rebuilding the line and reorganizing the rear before at 
the end of October the drive on Buzancy could be prelude to 
breaking through. 

During the ten days after October 4 the active American line 
was lengthened, and by freeing each of its ends it gave its center 
greater freedom. The 77th at the left, plugging along down the 
hogback of the Argonne, was given help. On October 7 the 8sd 
Division (All- American), which had been held in army reserve, 
was inserted in the line of the First Corps between the 2 8th and 
ist Divisions, that the three by increasing pressure down the Aire 
Valley toward St. Juvin might pinch the Germans out of the 


northern extremity of the Argonne Forest. Coming in with the 
8zd was Sergeant Alvin C. York, Tennessee mountaineer and 
conscientious objector, who proved to be almost a division in 
himself. On his second day in the woods, bothered by German 
machine-gun nests, he set off in a party of seventeen to smoke 
them out. Casualties whittled his squad to eight and lifted him 
to its command. Almost single-handed he reported back to his 
unit, having impressed a German officer as his interpreter. His 
captive, who understood English because he had worked in 
Chicago, understood better the language of York's gun in the 
small of his back. Through his willing interpreter York had 
ordered out of their trenches and nests one hundred and thirty- 
two prisoners, and compelled them to carry into the American lines 
thirty-five German machine guns, and the wounded Americans. 
He was back on duty the next day, to have his story extracted 
from him by cross-examination, and in due time to have Foch 
commend his feat as the 'greatest thing accomplished by any 
private soldier of all of the armies.' On October 10 the yyth came 
out of the woods so that it could look down upon the Aire and 
Grandpre after what its historian designates as the 'Wilderness 
Campaign. 5 

On the same day that the 8sd joined the line the 33d Division 
was transferred from the Third Corps to the French Seventeenth, 
on its right. On October 8 the sgth Division ('Blue and Gray, 5 
with Guardsmen from Middle States and Virginia) was put in 
between the 33d and its French neighbor; and the Seventeenth 
Corps moved over the Verdun battlefield of 1916, to clear the 
heights of the Meuse. In the next week the heights were cleared, 
relieving the divisions west of the Meuse from the murderous en- 
filading fire of German guns. The operation east of the Meuse 
lengthened Pershing's active front, costing him troops. But it cost 
the enemy more, since it tied more German divisions into active 
defense of the Vital pivot' of the German line. 

With the battle spreading out before the A.E.F. and with an 
extension of activity east of the Moselle under consideration, the 
Second Army was created on October 12. Liggett of the First 


Corps, promoted to succeed Pershing in command of the First 
Army, was nominated to Washington to be lieutenant-general, 
and made way for Major-General Joseph T. Dickman to command 
the left. Bullard, from the Third Corps, was given the Second 
Army and similar promotion, making room for Major-General 
John L. Hines. Cameron of the Fifth Corps was allowed to go 
back to the command of his old 4th Division, making room for 
Major-General Charles P. Summerall. The new commanders 
were finding their way to their new stations, while the front was 
undergoing revision for the new wave of advance of October 14. 
When Liggett took actual command of the First Army on October 
1 6, Pershing reverted to his single status as commander of the 
A.E.F.; now for the first time he became in fact a General of the 

As the commands changed, Pershing was satisfied that the 
First Army carried out a splendid achievement in a battle 'sud- 
denly conceived' and 'hurried in plan,' fought in harsh weather, 
against a desperate enemy, with inexperienced troops. Every 
division in the line needed to recuperate. Everywhere there were 
local operations designed to 'secure a suitable line of departure 3 
for the next advance. Even the raw divisions had been carried 
well along the route to veteran status in the eighteen days preced- 
ing the fresh advance. Liggett found his divisions under corps 
commanders promoted, as he had been, upon confidence in their 
proved capacity: 

yyth-Ssd 42d-3sd 5th~3d-4th 33d-2gth, plus French 

First Corps Fifth Corps Third Corps XVII French Corps 
Dickman Summerall Hines (east of Meuse) 

The end was in sight by mid-October, when the line advanced 
again. Army headquarters could sense its nearness, and Haig, 
who had hoped hard enough for it in early summer, thought he 
had foretold it. London, Paris, and Washington were conscious 
of its approach. In Washington Republican leaders, searching for 
an issue, were pointing up their demands for Unconditional sur- 
render/ while in Berlin the obvious end was determining policy. 


An Austrian feeler for informal discussion of terms of peace was 
brushed aside in September; declined in sixty-eight words/ as 
the Christian Science Monitor reported Lansing's brusque statement 
that the United States had already stated the terms. An altered 
German Government had approached Washington, asking for a 
conference. The Fourteen Points, nonsense to Germany in Janu- 
ary, 1918, had by September become the one anchor to windward. 
It could not be known until the German archives disgorged their 
papers that on the fourth day of the Meuse-Argonne, while 
Clemenceau was grumbling about the crowded road to Mont- 
faucon, von Hindenburg had notified the Imperial Chancellor that 
peace must be sought at once; or that on the seventh day he had 
conceded that there was c no longer any possible hope of forcing 3 it. 
Between hunger and dissension at home and relentless pressure 
along the line of battle, the German front was crumbling. There 
was general German retreat, retarded with desperate military 
skill only where such retardation was essential lest retreat should 
turn into rout and compel surrender in the field. The one great 
hope was to get the armies home. That the absence of a surrender 
could in twenty years be distorted into a voluntary cessation of 
attack was more than any responsible German could have con- 
ceived. The officers of the Imperial General Staff knew the facts, 
admitted them to each other and to the Imperial Government, and 
hoped without believing that they might by bluff of resistance 
deceive the Allies into a peace negotiated as though with free 

Germany suffered military defeat, with events along the Allied 
Western front determining the time and place. The naval front 
was real enough; so real that the high seas were a liability to 
Germany rather than an asset. It did not take a victorious naval 
engagement to spell victory here. In no other war had the pos- 
sibilities of an economic front been conceived or explored. This 
new front made life nearly as impossible for the neutral as for the 
lesser of the belligerents. No longer a status in which a powerful 
nation could remain at peace, neutrality became but a position 
to be held until the weight of events should indicate to the neutral 



which enemy it must resist. And beyond the economic front, 
where a victory was won, lay the even less tangible front of the 
human mind. Here, too, campaigns were planned and carried 
out, and according to the degree of their success helped by October 
to undermine the foundations of the German military power. 

There is no way of proving cause and consequence in matters of 
the mind. Subsequent action may be established and may plausibly 
be connected with an alleged cause, but the line of connection 
remains only circumstantial, however plausible it may appear. 
It is fact that Caporetto was preceded by a flood of German propa- 
ganda within the ranks of the armies of Italy; and it is fact as 
well that subsequently many of the Italian units folded up. The 
connection may be causal, but the historian cannot prove it. 
It is fact that the Allied mind was imbued with the idea that the 
Imperial German Government had precipitated a war of con- 
quest for its own advantage, naming the very day. To this was 
added the fact that the President of the United States, urging a 
'peace without victory, 3 had drawn repeatedly a distinction be- 
tween the German people^ against whom he professed no war, and 
their Government which he alleged to have brought them to disaster. 
Propaganda, a weapon of the war, as definitely designed to break 
down the will to war as any other weapon, was continuously used 
by every Government at war. Its primary purpose was the amalga- 
mation of a national will to win the war. Its secondary purpose 
was to break down the will to win of the people of the enemy. 

There was little in the Allied propaganda, built around the 
charge of attempt at conquest and a situation of alleged atrocities, 
that had value for the secondary purpose of breaking German 
unity. But there was much in that of Wilson. His series of public 
statements, before 1917 and after, gilded the picture of a fair 
world, without war. His emphasis upon the handful of persons 
constituting the German Government as the devils of the machine 
produced documents likely to appeal to common folk, hungry and 
bereft, and to bring about results weakening their loyalty to that 
Government as the German front fell back. Wilson had two 
motives as he laid down American doctrine: one, to make it harder 


for the Allies to ask for a peace unable to win American support; 
the other, to divert the attention of enemy peoples and troops from 
the channels of their own national propaganda. It may be be- 
lieved, though it may not be proved, that he succeeded in the latter 

George Creel was his agent for this purpose. From the Commit- 
tee on Public Information there went to Europe a flood of press 
releases comparable to that which had drenched the United 
States from Europe in pre-war years. He planted his agents in 
the Allied and neutral capitals to disseminate the American version 
of the truth. He reached the Allied mind with print, picture 
shows, and oratory. Pershmg's Crusaders and America's Answer 
(official films) raised some of the hopes in France and Britain 
that Pershing found it so difficult to fulfill. It was Creel's belief 
that the best propaganda, if he could get it past the German censor, 
was the fact of American reinforcement and the doctrine of 
Woodrow Wilson. In July, 1918, while the various war boards 
were holding their c round tables' with colleagues in Europe, 
Creel had one held in Paris, upon ways and means of getting 
propaganda into Germany. Advertisement in neutral papers 
helped. Translations of dodgers into the languages of enemy 
belligerents was undertaken; smuggling them into Germany and 
Austria was harder, but was accomplished. Dropped in loose 
bundles by aircraft, they settled down upon soldiers in the trenches. 
He once sent 400,000 greetings floated by paper balloons, east 
across the Belgian border; but he had to lament that he could 
not always trust the winds, and occasionally propaganda intended 
for Alsace came down in Kent. When the German people set 
up a cry for peace, based upon the Fourteen Points, it was partly 
Creel who had explained the Fourteen Points and by explaining 
them had diverted some of the German mind from conquest. 
The prisoners who streamed over the Allied lines during the 
autumn drive produced propaganda leaflets when their pockets 
were searched. Army Intelligence picked up German orders im- 
posing drastic penalties upon soldiers even picking up papers from 
the ground. It is impossible to repudiate a connection like that 


between cause and effect. That the weakening of the German 
will to win was one of the victories, on one of the fronts of war, is 
plausible at least. But it was on the army front that Germany 
lost the war. 

Liggett took over from Pershing the command of the First 
Army two days after it had resumed the drive on October 14, 
with its line not yet as far advanced as Pershing had hoped to get it 
in the first operation of the battle. From the heights of the Meuse 
to the Channel the position changed each day. That line in 
France, where von Hindenburg and Ludendorff had once expected 
to come to rest for one more winter, had vanished repeatedly 
before the German armies reached it. Even better than the Allied 
strategists, who could look at the map, read on it the line of the 
moving front, the immobile line of the railroads, and the barrier 
of the Belgian Highlands at the German rear, the German strate- 
gists knew that once the railroad was broken their armies could 
not be withdrawn and would lie at the mercy of the enemy. They 
placed no confidence in that mercy and surrendered at home 
before they yielded at the front. They advised the political leaders 
to seek shelter in the phrases of Woodrow Wilson. He had spoken 
eloquently about 'peace without victory. 5 What they needed now 
was 'peace without defeat 3 ; and that on any terms. 

The Allied line, just lengthened by Pershing's operations east of 
the Meuse, was correspondingly shortened by German withdrawal 
on the left, in the first days of Liggett's command. Moving too rap- 
idly to make a stand, to evacuate materiel, or even to destroy all of 
it, the enemy pulled back toward the French frontier and the road 
home through Liege. Albert entered Ostend on October 17; 
Lille was evacuated by the eighteenth; and the streams of German 
prisoners testified to the willingness of German soldiers to end their 
individual war on any pretext. Across the front from Haig's 
armies resistant evacuation was the order of the day. The way out 
through Belgium started at Maubeuge. In front of the French 
armies, and along the Aisne, the withdrawal was slower and called 
for more hurrying by the Allies, because the Upper Aisne is near 
the Meuse. But here, too, there was withdrawal. The divisions of 


Gouraud were turning the eastern end of the Chemin des Dames 
and opening for France the road to Mezieres-Sedan. At the west 
end Mangin 'hustled 5 the enemy out of Laon on October 14, with 
time only to loot the city, not to destroy it. Liaison with the Ameri- 
can left was established near Grandpre just as the yyth worked its 
way out of the forest. Hence to Sedan was a matter of twenty-four 
miles. Petain had been unimaginative when he advised Pershing 
that Montfaucon was quite as far as the A.E.F. might hope to ad- 
vance before winter. 

Liggett took over the conduct of the drive which he found under 
way on a front where the enemy made few voluntary withdrawals. 
Before the next general advance could be arranged there were 
local corrections to be made, or completed, in the face of each 
division. The whole line was held back by the hilly country west 
of Romagne, which must be occupied before any concerted push 
could be directed against the last of the great fortified positions in 
the vicinity of Buzancy. 

Romagne itself was taken on the fourteenth. And on the same 
day the Cote Dame Marie, which Pershing described as 'perhaps 
the most important strong point of the Hindenburg Line on the 
Western Front,' the 'dominating feature' of the Romagne heights, 
was stormed by the 32d Division, in SummeralPs Fifth Corps. 
Around the Cote Dame Marie and across the highways converging 
on Romagne, and around Romagne, ran the works of the Kriem- 
hilde Stellung. The hills were a natural fortress even before they 
were covered with trenches and enmeshed in wire. To the 3sd, 
which had been working continuously on its problem of ejection 
since October 8, the starting of the new drive made no difference: 
the old drive had not stopped. The change of corps commanders 
was unimportant, since Summerall, until his elevation, had com- 
manded the ist Division, working with the 32d, at its left. Worn 
out for the moment, the ist Division was replaced by the 42 d Divi- 
sion for the final assault on the position. When a regiment of the 
32d dashed across the top of Dame Marie, after nightfall of the 
fourteenth of October, it found 'the wicked machine-gun nests 
deserted by all but the dead.' With Romagne hill within American 


lines, Liggett's center could mop up and get ready to move again. 
The left was corrected on and after the fourteenth, when the 
Aire between Grandpre and St. Juvin along with both of these 
towns, was brought within the front. The 77th, replaced by the 
78th, took a needed rest, only to be brought back to relieve the 
8sd when the advance began again. East of the Meuse, on Lig- 
gett's extreme right, there were only local changes to be made on 
the extension of the front established by the 33d and sgth Divisions. 
The next mission of the First Army was to clear the country north 
of the Aire, whose 'wooded bluffs and mutually supporting spurs 5 
made it as easy as it was supremely important to hold it; and to 
drive the enemy east across the Meuse. 

There was no more room on the American front for additional 
divisions to be brought into action, although the Atlantic Ferry 
had in October contributed a net increase to the A.E.F. of 162,000 
men, so that Pershing could note 76,800 officers and 1,790,823 in 
the ranks. The divisions that were concentrated on the line, with 
corps and army troops behind them, covered the country. Con- 
centrated as heavily as space would allow, the troops were con- 
centrated more heavily than would have been prudent had the war 
been expected to last indefinitely. Harbord, at Tours, complained 
that the Services of Supply were undermanned below the point of 
safety. Officer shortage compelled Chaumont to rob non-combat- 
ant units of their officers, as line officers fell in battle. Ocean ton- 
nage was failing to deliver to France the material requirements 
now that the battle had taken on its grand dimensions. The Com- 
mander in Chief, with the immediate existence of his army on his 
soul, had to save corners of his mind for the extension of battle 
activity in the near future and for its continuance in 1919 should 
the enemy show power of resistance. To the War Department he 
had cabled on October 3: 'Unless supplies are furnished when and 
as called for, our armies will cease to operate.' Clemenceau had 
again tried to get rid of him, citing to Foch 'son invincible obstina- 
tion'; and Foch had blocked an appeal to Wilson for a new com- 

It is customary among military historians to write of that phase 


of the advance which began on November i, 1918, as the final 
phase. It proved to be final; but it should be remembered that to 
those who took part in it the end of the war was still uncertain in 
both time and space. No one could avoid knowing that events 
were in train whose results might be the end of the war, but that 
knowledge of necessity for instant peace, which inspired German 
action, could not be more than suspected by the enemies of Ger- 
many. When at last it came, the completeness of the German col- 
lapse went far beyond expectation. At the end of October, with no 
confidence in the sincerity of the enemy in proposing a truce, it 
was necessary for the Allies to consider terms upon which a cessa- 
tion of the drive might be profitable; but it was hard even to hope 
that Germany would assent to the only terms which the Allies, 
with victory in sight, must certainly demand. 

Strategically, it was natural to suppose that when service on the 
field railroads should be interrupted the German armies would be 
endangered, and that they would be unable to make another 
serious stand until they should reach new posts along the Rhine. 
But it was supposed that the enemy commanders would somehow 
get their armies out of France. The Allied counter, growing in 
spread and intensity every week, warranted a hope that France 
and Belgium might be cleared before winter. There would come a 
time when that law of the salient, which bears down upon the 
victor as his rear gets clogged with patchwork roads and half- 
repaired railways, would operate against the Allies to slow them 
down. But victory was inspiring the Allies, as lack of it was 
demoralizing the enemy. The request sent through Switzerland 
to the United States, October 5, begging truce pending the negoti- 
ation of a peace on Wilson's terms was distrusted as a trick. With 
Allied armies gaining ground each day and with Germany re- 
treating in increasing disorder, it was essential to continue to make 
gains while they came easily. Intermission or truce would at least 
permit the enemy to regain breath; at worst, it might enable him to 
make a new stand and prolong the war. 

The Allied commanders proceeded to advise Foch on terms 
that would spell victory, whatever they should be called, while 


pressing the war as though Germany was to be beaten back to the 
Rhine and defeated on German soil. Liggett had for his im- 
mediate mission the reoccupation of the line of the railroad and 
the forcing of the enemy army back of the Meuse. The A.E.F. 
was ready and anxious to proceed upon the road to Metz. East 
of the Moselle, encircling Metz, Foch had in contemplation an 
extension of the active front. For this, Bullard, with half a dozen 
American divisions, was selected to co-operate with twenty French 
divisions under Mangin. The name of Second Army was to be 
taken with its commander into this adventure. The American 
troops on the inactive line between the heights of the Meuse and 
the Moselle, which had constituted the Second Army since Octo- 
ber 12, were redesignated as the Third Army. Dickman of the 
First Corps was assigned to lead them. Orders shifting him to his 
new command were issued November 7; Bullard's engagement 
was dated for November 14. 

It was not until October 23 that President Wilson notified the 
German Government that he had transmitted to the Allies its 
overture for an armistice. He did not promise that the Allies 
would give assent, but made it clear that there would not be any 
cessation of hostilities on terms that would permit Germany to 
resume the war, and that the military terms of any armistice would 
be drafted by the Allied command, which meant Foch. House, as 
Wilson's agent, was already at sea, hurrying to take the place of 
the President at such meetings of the Supreme War Council as 
might be necessary. He reached Paris on October 26, a day after 
Foch had assembled his commanders at Senlis, now his head- 
quarters, to discuss the military language in which they should 
write their determination that Germany should not resume the 
war. Pershing attended with the others, convinced that 'sur- 
render of the German armies' should be demanded, and willing to 
consider less only if the political leaders should so decide. He found 
Haig believing that Germany was capable of considerable re- 
sistance on a reduced front. He found Foch wary, with Germany 
at bay, yet convinced that the German army was, 'physically and 
morally, thoroughly beaten.' To Foch and House he pressed the 


point that any arrangement should provide 'guaranties against a 
resumption of hostilities. 9 

Pershing used the word armistice, as all did; and unfortunately. 
The only reasonable meaning of the word contains the implication 
of an unchanged ability on the part of both parties to resume a 
contest, after an interruption of hostilities. What Pershing and 
Foch and their associates had in mind, and what Germany was 
being driven relentlessly to accept, was something other than 
armistice. It contained all the substance of an unconditional 
surrender, lacking only the actual transfer to the victor of custody 
of the troops of the vanquished. No other word in modern times 
has, by its misapplication, caused the world so much trouble as 
this word armistice. 

The commanders drafted the memorandum on military terms, 
while the Supreme War Council held its first formal session on 
October 31. 'We can continue it if the enemy desires it to his 
complete defeat, 5 said Foch, presenting the draft, to which the 
political leaders added political and diplomatic annexes. Not 
until November 4 was the last comma in place, so that the Supreme 
War Council could formally endorse the terms. The next day 
Woodrow Wilson notified the enemy, not of the terms, but of the 
readiness of the Generalissimo to deliver terms to the agents of the 
defeated enemy, should he be asked directly for them. 

Pershing, meanwhile, went back to his two armies, with the pro- 
ject for the third ready for announcement, and in agreement with 
Foch that if the negotiations should fail or be a fraud no advantage 
should be allowed the enemy because of them. His latest rein- 
forcement was on hand. Rear-Admiral C. P. Plunkett, with his 
fourteen-inch naval guns, had come ashore. Two of the guns, with 
the French, had ranged the yards at Laon before that city was 
abandoned. Others were in the rear of the American armies ready 
to be used. With the operation on Metz in view, two were assigned 
stations east of Nancy, to get the range of the eastern projection of 
the railroad beyond Metz. Two were brought down the Meuse 
below Verdun, and threw their shells into the yards at Longuyon 
and Montmedy, interrupting communication between Sedan and 


Metz. On November i, as scheduled, the advance began upon 
what could not until a later date be described as the last operation 
of the war. Italy had on October 24 resumed activity on the 
Caporetto front, a year to the day after the debacle of 1917. Bul- 
garia and Turkey were down and out, in unconditional surrender; 
and it was only a matter of hours until Austria-Hungary should 
follow them. 

John Buchan Lord Tweedsmuir has recorded his opinion 
that now began the hardest part of Pershing's task. Between the 
front of November i and the line of the Meuse the country con- 
tinued rough and nearly roadless, even though less infested with 
fortified positions than the region south of Buzancy. The Ameri- 
can troops were better skilled than when they began on September 
26, but had lost their freshness. They were so closely crowded on 
the field that only superior liaison kept them from mutual inter- 
ference; and as they crossed each other's lines in the rear they 
created hopeless confusion. To take advantage of the opportunity 
they must press ahead, each as far as possible, without waiting to 
rebuild or build the roads behind them; and the farther they 
got ahead, the greater the hazard if things went wrong. Much was 
to be risked if the war was to be won now. 

When Liggett moved once more., he had again rearranged the 
units of the First Army: 

78th~77th-8oth 2d-8gth goth~5th 

First Corps Fifth Corps Third Corps (plus Fr. 15, 26, id) 
Dickman Surnmerall Hines XVII French Corps 

east of Meuse 

The First Army and Gouraud's French army to its left were in 
a close co-operation now that Gouraud had successfully reached 
the Aisne. From Attigny (where the 36th Division had on Octo- 
ber 27 completed the assignment which it had shared with the 
2d) to the extreme right, where the French I5th and the American 
7gth were to widen the front east of the Meuse, was a single 
operation. Its intent was to drive the enemy across the Meuse, 
away from his railroad, and up against the barrier of the hills in 


Belgium and Luxemburg. Orders as to objectives had been 
changed. The program of limited objectives that had dominated 
thus far had been replaced by one of unlimited advance in the 
direction of the attack. Foch had published the new doctrine as a 
tactical suggestion; Pershing had antedated him in instructions 
issued to the First Army. 

Across the American front, from the Meuse near Dun-sur- 
Meuse and through Buzancy, ran a ridge whose occupation would 
bring the Lower Meuse in sight and flank the German armies. 
The Fifth Corps faced Buzancy, in the center. The First Corps, 
with the Bois de Bourgogne on its left, maintained such connection 
as it could with the French army, with the line of the army limit 
running east of north from the Bois de Bourgogne to the Meuse 
opposite Sedan. The Third Corps, next the Meuse, had still the 
duty to pivot on its right until it faced the river between Brieulles 
and Stenay, to cross the river, and to push on with Montmedy and 
Longuyon as possible objectives. Pershing was human enough to 
wish the war might last until he had justified his program by 
gaining both Sedan and Metz. 

The last fortified German front was broken on November i and 
four days later it had disappeared. There was no German strength 
left for serious counter-attacks. The divisions abandoned or 
were driven from their positions in quick succession, while the 
High Command published for home consumption the cryptic 
communique: e We have readjusted our position to a depth of ten 

On the extreme left, Dickman's First Corps found no enemy on 
its front after the first day of the new advance, and hurried in 
trucks and with motor-cycle units to pursue the retreating German 
rear over country whose roads did not invite such methods of pur- 
suit. Liggett bewailed the absent arm for which the war had had 
no room, the cavalry. Advance was here, and now, a matter for 
the 'traffic cops' and was hastened when, on November 5, there 
came to Dickman a memorandum from Drum, chief of staff for 
Liggett: 'General Pershing desires that the honor of entering 
Sedan should fall to the First Army. 3 Sedan was beyond the zone 


of the First Army, on the right margin of the French; but Pershing's 
hopes were less orderly than his assignment. 'Boundaries/ Drum 
wrote, 'will not be considered as binding. 3 

The work of the First Corps was nearly done, since action was to 
pause along the new line stabilized on the Meuse while Mangin 
and Bullard took it up to the east of the Moselle. Dickman's 
y8th Division was withdrawn from his line November 5, and his 
Both left for new duties on November 6. The 42 d replaced the y8th 
for five days and was gone on November 8, when even the First 
Corps organization disappeared. Dickman was on his way to his 
Third Army, while the Fifth Corps absorbed what were left of his 
First Corps troops. The French had claimed and taken the Meuse 
sector opposite Sedan. 

Working in front of Buzancy, the Fifth Corps carried its ridge 
with the sd and 8gth Divisions, Harbord noting the fact that 
there were now no National Guard Divisions on the aggressive 
line. The Third Corps had the Meuse to cross. On its left was the 
goth Division; on its right the 5th, which had corrected the line by 
occupying Brieulles on October 30, was at the river. The railroad 
here, the local line from Verdun to Sedan, ran down the left bank 
of the Meuse. Across the river, on the east, was the Meuse canal, 
and each of the waterways called for pontoon bridges to be con- 
structed under fire. By November 3 the 5th Division was across 
the river at Brieulles and two days later it had made another cross- 
ing at Dun-sur-Meuse. The goth swung with it, lagging a little, 
carrying the corps front down the river to the outskirts of Stenay. 
By November 7 both were plunging east of the Meuse, 'against the 
enemy 3 as Foch had suggested, 'in the direction of attack. 3 They 
were within six miles of Montmedy when the Armistice checked 
their course on November u. 

After November 5 the American advance was a free pursuit of 
an enemy who could do no more than worry overeager pursuers 
from his rear, as he sought safety. The west of the Meuse had been 
cleared well below Stenay, while the First and Fifth Corps were 
also pivoting toward the east and the hills along the river, and 
while the French had become nervous lest others than themselves 


should take Sedan. The pursuit was so one-sided that by Novem- 
ber 7 Pershing could safely give directions to 'use lights on all 
motor transport'; and the advantage was so great as to justify 
orders to unit commanders to 'push troops forward wherever 
resistance is broken, without regard for fixed objectives and 
without fear for their flanks. 5 

The spirit of the A.E.F. and the words of the commander ac- 
count for one of the most remarkable maneuvers of the war, and 
one for which success has perhaps quashed the indictment. The 
ist Division, out of the line since October 12, came back. From a 
position in reserve behind the central corps, the Fifth, it pushed 
out of the corps sector on the afternoon of November 6, occupying 
the right of the First Corps, whence the 8oth had just been with- 
drawn. Someone misconceived his orders; whether at the issuing 
or the receiving end, remaining still in the dark. But through the 
night of November 6 the ist Division made a forced march across 
the rear of its next neighbor to the left, the 77th; and the next left 
neighbor, the 42d; blocking the roads and delaying the advance of 
both. On November 7 it raced with the 42d Tor the possession of 
the heights south and west of Sedan.' Nothing quite like it had 
occurred in an American army since on the night of June 23, 1898, 
the First Volunteer Cavalry had marched through the Cuban 
jungle to a battle-front of its own choosing, the next morning, at 
Las Guasimas. 

On the heights west of Sedan, with guns completely com- 
manding the city and the German railroad, in a sector reserved by 
the French but not yet reached by them, the First Army came to 
its goal. That day, the field receiving sets picked up a radio from 
Foch, via the Eiffel Tower station, directing the enemy how emis- 
saries 'requesting from him an armistice' could safely cross the 
lines to reach him. The naughty division, peremptorily ordered 
back, disappeared from the active front. That afternoon, un- 
founded news that the Armistice had been signed was cabled from 
Brest by the United Press. Roy W. Howard, who signed the mes- 
sage, has managed to escape moral responsibility for the error; 
but the United States broke out at once in riotous celebration of 


the Talse armistice/ only to learn that rejoicing was premature. 
The German envoys, delayed in crossing the lines, came to 
Foch in his wagon-lit on the morning of November 8, stood embar- 
rassed until Foch had compelled them to say they had come asking 
for peace, and received from him the ultimatum prepared by the 
Allied command. Seventy- two hours later, in the last minutes of 
the expiring time limit, they signed as the Armistice what in any 
proper military sense was the equivalent of unconditional sur- 
render. At ii A.M., Monday, November n, 1918, the American 
reinforcement passed into history. The German Emperor was a 
political refugee seeking hospitality from the Dutch, and the Ger- 
man people, by revolution, had taken over the conduct of their 
own affairs. 


JL HERE is reason to believe that the military share of the United 
States in the defeating of the Central Powers was great. Without 
the weight of the American armies to reinforce the line of the 
Allies, and without the pressure which they exerted upon the 
sector most vital to the continued operation of German armies in 
France, it is not easy to see how Germany could have been brought 
to terms acceptable to those who fought. Without this weight it 
is quite possible to conceive of a German military victory and a 
peace imposed by the Imperial German Government. Any 
estimate of the human significance of the Armistice must take into 
account the conjectural relative values to the world of a victorious 
Germany or a Germany not victorious. 

But the military contribution that helped make possible a defeat 
of Germany months or years ahead of prophecy was a less 
significant factor in victory than was the American contribution 
to ideas. Washington alone was not bound by the Pact of Paris. 
The United States alone was not paralyzed by a fear of conquest 
or a requirement for security. The President of the United States, 
alone among the rulers, was able to think and speak of a world 
that ought to be, and by his position of disinterest to give voice to 
a vision of double purpose. The concept of a 'world safe for 
democracy, ' illusory, perhaps, was vital enough at once to give 
purpose to fagged majorities among the Allies and to lessen among 
enemy peoples the willingness to prolong the war. 

From his study in the White House, Woodrow Wilson conducted 
the campaign whose result made him the greatest general of the 
war. The last chapter of his effective leadership must deal with 
a tragic paradox. Most lasting of the war executives in his term 


of unbroken power, he was first to fall after victory had been at- 
tained. While the Allied world acclaimed him as a savior, and 
enemy peoples looked to him as their buckler, his own people 
turned against his leadership. The greatest demobilization in 
history had begun before Foch accepted the German signatures 
to the Armistice. Before the battle was quieted on November n, 
Wilson, by parliamentary defeat, had been discredited. Dis- 
credited, too, he was by a people whose mass mind at the moment 
marched with his, and who, like him, beheld beyond victory the 
dawning of a better world. 

For ten months after his suggestion of the Fourteen Points to a 
world unready for them, Woodrow Wilson faced three audiences, 
with as many preferences. Never for a day was he able to forget 
the requirements of each. All must be carried with him if his 
goal was to be attained. He was, in three roles, prophet, President, 
and politician. 

Before the world, he was prophet. Already he had the ear of 
liberal and weary groups as he gave to the war an objective worth 
fighting for. British labor had adopted him, American labor 
stood behind him, a world league seemed so reasonable an imita- 
tion of the American Federal Government that his fellow citizens 
could follow him, and the common folk among the enemies began 
to sense his meaning. Before a world audience whose willing 
consent was essential to the functioning of a new world order he 
was bound to elaborate the logic of the order. As the war neared 
its end he had much to overcome. 

Within enemy countries the Governments struggled not only 
for victory but for existence. Ruling classes were against Wilson. 
Hence the wedge, repeatedly slipped between the German people 
and their rulers. 

Among the Allies, each with an end not wholly covered by the 
plea for safety, and some quite willing to be party to agreements 
to divide the spoils, the American President had to win followers 
to outvote their rulers. So long as peace was remote, the latter 
bore with him; with victory approaching, general principles were 
certain to be threatened by demands for quick returns. The 


hard-boiled statesmen who persisted in the belief that life is a 
succession of temporary equilibria, backed by force, may have 
been nearer right than Wilson; but right or wrong they feared the 
enemy, distrusted their allies, disliked his program, and evaded 
when they dared. They had taken their profits, as his disruptive 
program softened enemy resistance, but no Government had 
pledged itself to support his terms. 

In his own land, American tradition ran against him, for isola- 
tion was a habit. To break this down, Wilson had described 
'peace without victory' as a 'disentangling' alliance as a Monroe 
Doctrine for the world. But at best the American willingness to 
think in terms of a league to enforce peace was beset by the 
American habit of approving the avoidance of entangling alli- 
ances. First among statesmen to appeal to the world constituency 
created by growing nearness and instant information, Woodrow 
Wilson had yet to learn how easy it is for men to commend world 
doctrines and yet, at home, to vote with national groups for more 
immediate objectives. 

Prophet to the world, he was President at home. As President 
his was the task to hold the United States to an undiverted prose- 
cution of the war, every part of which was strange in scene, scale, 
and method. Accepting the war, Americans stepped above their 
parties, leaving no organized opposition to impede it. The rosters 
of the armed forces, of the War Boards, of the emergency activities, 
show how completely Wilson was President of all the United 
States. There was no room for Theodore Roosevelt, or Leonard 
Wood, each of whom fell into the pit of his own digging; but Root 
was used, and Taft, and Hughes. The organic support from both 
parties becomes more striking when the politics of the Civil War, 
the War of 1812, or even the Revolution are brought forward for 
comparison. The handful of war dissenters, scattered through all 
parties, were too few to give their tone to any major group and 
remained in painful isolation from start to finish. From the 
ranks of the Republican Party came indeed those who had done 
the most useful spadework for a league. Even Roosevelt had 
given it countenance; Lodge had spoken for it. And William 


Howard Taft, busy with war work, was busy also with public 
advocacy of permanent peace based upon a league of nations. 
Before the American audience, Woodrow Wilson must act the 
President, playing no favorites, and directing the good-will of a 
nation in arms. 

Prophet and President, he was politician, too. The constitu- 
tional structure of the United States, which gives its administra- 
tion a continuity unknown to governments of parliamentary type, 
creates hazards likewise unknown to them. Parliamentary govern- 
ments could, and did, set up coalitions and postpone elections for 
the period of the war. But no power in the United States could 
defer the mechanical incidence of election days, coming with the 
calendar and without reference to the status of pending public 
business. With the world on his hands and his people behind him, 
Wilson was yet forced to conserve his party structure. None knew 
better than Democrats the partisan mendacity of a Congress at 
variance with the Chief Executive. They had exhibited it while 
Taft was President; and many who had hazed Taft then were in 
office now. A congressional election was approaching, and they 
had to expect that if they lost it their own political guns would be 
turned against them, and that a Republican Congress under a 
Democratic President would be racked by the opposing pulls of 
patriotism and party gain. A statesman, to be useful as a states- 
man, must stay in office. Much more, a politician, to stay politician, 
must get re-elected. 

The American peculiarity with its automatic days of political 
reckoning and its lame-duck sessions, could not be ignored by a 
party leader, even though he was also President and prophet. 
The Democratic interlude in which Woodrow Wilson did his 
work had been prolonged six years. It owed much of its doctrine 
to independent men, outside their parties; and much of its power 
to a group of legislators sitting in seats captured from normally 
Republican constituencies in 1912. The six-year terms of Senators 
elected with Wilson were coming to an end. On the ability of the 
President, as politician, to hold these seats against the normal 
habit of their voters, hung the political fate of the United States 


for the last two years of his office. Neither before 1918 nor since 
has the American Government, on dead center, failed to lag. 
Prophet and President depended on the politician. 

'Politics is adjourned/ and the election 'will go to those who 
think least of it,* said the President, speaking to Congress on May 
27, a few hours after the Germans drove the French from the 
Chemin des Dames and headed for the Marne. He hoped he 
spoke the truth, for it was his duty as politician that was least 
consistent with his success as President or prophet. He asked for 
quick passage of a second revenue bill, and returned to the White 
House to read that night the disturbing dispatches telling of the 
French retreat. The next morning came the more encouraging 
bulletins on the neatness of the First Division effort at Cantigny. 
The Overman Act (May 20) had just given him authority to 
adjust the Government to the requirements of the war. The re- 
staffed war machine was functioning under the names of super- 
men. Roosevelt, the night before, had brought diners to their 
feet at the Blackstone in Chicago, as he shook hands with Taft. 
Will H. Hays was on his way to Indianapolis to sound the keynote 
of a country's war before a State Republican convention. There 
he was welcomed as chairman of the Republican National Com- 
mittee, yet he spoke not as Republican but as chairman of the 
Indiana State Council of Defense. The applause that welcomed 
Hays drowned the complaint of Senator Harry S. New, from the 
same platform. New, who was not up for re-election in 1918 and 
hence was free, called the President "the most uncompromising 
in his partisanship of any man who has occupied the White House 
since the days of Andrew Jackson.' Hays may have agreed with 
New, but he held his words, for it was his business to carry his party 
through the war and leave it solvent. Neither he, nor the State 
chairmen whom he called into quiet conference in Chicago on 
Labor Day, could see a way to contest the November elections 
without risking the loyal status of their party. 

As spring gave way to summer, and the American divisions 
behaved in action creditably to themselves and satisfactorily 
to all concerned with them, it became almost possible to believe 


that politics had in fact been adjourned. The President having 
stated his doctrine in the Fourteen Points, had concentrated on 
the war. The enemy had aspirations at variance with his doctrine, 
and the Allies were not ready to commit themselves. Wilson 
opened the Third Liberty Loan drive at Baltimore in April with 
'force, and force alone. 5 Germany had compelled it. Only force 
could determine 'whether Right, as America conceives it, or 
Dominion, as she [Germany] conceives it, shall determine the 
destinies of mankind. 3 As against this program no important 
political group could make headway. Politics lay groggy for the 
moment, knocked out by patriotic determination to defeat the 

The party gatherings of the summer were tame affairs, dealing 
with win-the-war oratory, and enlivened only by Wilson's own 
effort to purge his party of lukewarm representatives. He called 
their numbers, one by one. Jeff: [sic] McLemore was repudiated 
in Texas, losing every county in his Seventh District. Slayden, of 
the Fourteenth Texas, although he had been eleven times elected 
as a Democrat, withdrew from contest when the President de- 
scribed him as against the war administration. Hardwick of 
Georgia and Vardaman of Mississippi fought it out in their sena- 
torial primaries, weighted down by presidential letters favoring 
their opponents, and both were dropped. Republican leaders 
were cautious with their words, seeing few openings through which 
it would be safe to attack sitting Democrats who had voted for 
war measures. 

The New York Republican conference, held July 18, met just 
as the First Division, with a Roosevelt in it, struck the right flank 
of the German salient on the Marne. At the conference Theodore 
Roosevelt, saddened but not broken by the loss of his aviator son 
Quentin, spoke to the leaders on a lofty idealism here at home. 5 
He permitted himself only a side remark in abhorrence of c mock 
idealism.' Hays spoke from the same platform, and Root, and 
Taft (describing himself as a e ghost emerging from the past'). 
With patriotism dominant, their political depression was measur- 
able by the memorial, carrying on one paper the names of Root 


and of William Barnes of Albany, inviting Roosevelt to become a 
candidate for governor again. Said Barnes, explaining his support 
of a despised critic. The people will vote for him because he is 

Theodore Roosevelt Had this nation been led by vision the 

war would have been already won. 3 In the ensuing primary 
Whitman was nominated as candidate to succeed himself; the 
Democrats brought out a new name, Alfred Emanuel Smith, 
after a trial balloon carrying the name of William Randolph 
Hearst had been hauled down. 

The political staffs in charge of the approaching canvass were 
unevenly matched. Woodrow Wilson was his own chief of staff, 
and Homer S. Cummings, vice-chairman of the Democratic 
National Committee, played no part comparable to that assumed 
by Hays in the Republican reorganization of February, 1918. 
Vance McCormick, Democratic chairman, was too busy with the 
War Trade Board to do much in politics. The chairman of the 
Democratic Congressional Committee, Scott Ferris of Oklahoma, 
who had sat in the House since the admission of his State, made 
little impression on events. There was small hope of winning 
new seats from Republican incumbents. It was as much as could 
be done to try to retain the normal Republican seats already 
held by Democrats; and since most of these were north and east 
there was little that Ferris could do about them. When Republi- 
cans in Congress made sharp remarks about those individual 
Southern Democrats who had been lukewarm, there was no net loss 
in sight, since those, if eliminated in primary, would be succeeded 
by other Democrats. 

The Republican Party, defeated in three elections, in 1912, 
1914, and 1916, was determined upon reunion and aimed at 1920. 
As nearly as any could foretell, Roosevelt was to run again. His 
reconciliation with Root and Taft suggested that the wounds of 
1912 were healing or disregarded. It was the business of Hays to 
hasten the healing, and until the record of his quiet party talks is 
published it will be impossible to do more than guess at how he 
went about it. From the moment of his election as chairman of the 
Republican National Committee in February, 1918, he moved 


about the country, scratching none and comforting many. The 
picture he might have painted was that of a disintegrated party, 
indefinitely out of office should the war be won, the peace be won, 
and Woodrow Wilson be allowed to stand on the pinnacle of a new 
world order. For the moment it was completely inexpedient to 
bare the wounds of party or to do other than support the war to 
the uttermost. 

The existing set-up of the Republican Congressional Commit- 
tee was no help to Hays, because its chairman, Frank P. Woods of 
Iowa, re-elected to the post in January, 1918, lost his renomination 
to the House in the early summer on his war record. Woods had, 
before American entry, written letters early in the war that were 
being used to discredit him as though he were pro-German. 
Likely to be deposed after his defeat, he resigned as chairman at the 
end of August, making way for Simeon D. Fess of Ohio who was 
immediately elected to his post. Three days after Fess accepted 
the chairmanship, Hays went into conference with Republican 
State chairmen, thirty-two of them, in Chicago on September 2. 
What he said there and what they planned are not of the record, 
since the meeting was given scant publicity. Enough of it leaked 
out, however, to inspire Tumulty from the White House to inquire 
of Hays whether he really told his associates that the Democratic 
Administration 'would even end the war with any kind of com- 
promise if that would ensure continuance of the Democratic 
Party in power. 5 Hays met the inquiry with indignant denial, 
quoting words that said less than those ascribed to him. But before 
the Austrian peace proposal of September 15 was received and 
rejected, it was clear that the adjournment of politics was an over- 
statement. There was, however, even yet no safe aggressive for 
Republicans to undertake. 

What the party could not do, as such, could be done with less 
danger by outside volunteers. The National Security League 
was still at work. Having launched itself for preparedness in 1914, 
it held successive conventions for 'constructive patriotism' and 
'national service 5 thereafter. It announced in midsummer a cam- 
paign to eliminate disloyal members from Congress. With Elihu 


Root and Alton B. Parker as honorary officers on its letterhead arid 
with an aggressive secretariat in New York, it compiled an e acid 
test 5 for candidates. Eight roll-calls in Congress comprised the 
test, ranging from the vote to table the McLemore resolution in 
1916, to the vote to eliminate volunteers in 1917. Six of the votes 
were taken before American entry, and only forty-seven of the 435 
members of the House came clean. Of these only four were 
Democrats, and only four came from districts south and west of 
Pennsylvania. The League sent its questionnaires to every candi- 
date as he raised his head, and flooded with literature the districts 
of Northern Republicans of whom it disapproved. It did little in 
the South, where Democrats would succeed Democrats, but con- 
centrated its efforts upon districts in the Middle West. Attacking 
Democrats more numerously than Republicans, its campaign was 
suspected as being partisan. It concentrated, too, upon George 
Creel and his official publicity which it regarded as too soft with 

Quite as important as the installation of party chairmen whose 
war records were unimpeachable was the installation in August of 
a new leader of the Republican minority in the Senate, Henry 
Cabot Lodge. Jacob H. Gallinger of New Hampshire, 'stalwart 
and standpatter/ in his fifth term as Senator, died on August 17. 
Next him among Republicans in seniority was Lodge, most bitter 
perhaps of the congressional critics of Woodrow Wilson. Already 
Lodge was drafting a personal speech on the Irreducible mini- 
mum 3 in terms of peace; a speech which the death of Gallinger 
turned into an utterance from the leader of the opposition. With 
the Marne pocket cut off and the initiative shifted to the hands of 
Foch, it was possible to hope for victory and to suggest that only 
Republicans would know what to do with it. The maps in the 
papers were showing the daily gains of Haig in the battle of the 
Somme, renewed on August 8. The letters from the newsmen in 
France, now passed with details of the fighting of the early sum- 
mer, set up a picture of victorious Yanks. The world read of the 
German conference at Spa on August 14, although it did not know 
that the German High Command knew the war was lost. 'We 


intend/ said Lodge, with irony directed at the President, as he 
made his speech on August 23, c to make the world safe for de- 
mocracy. But what exactly do we mean by democracy?' He 
made it clear that he, at least, was not fighting for democracy 
in the meaning of the President. "We are fighting . . . for secur- 
ity. 3 And he traversed the Fourteen Points, endorsing only 
those that pointed to a Germany 'in a position where she can 
never again attempt to conquer and ruin the world.' *In a 
word/ he said, c we must go to Berlin and there dictate peace.' 
He warned his colleagues, from his position as senior Republican 
on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, against a negoti- 
ated peace and the treachery of the Hohenzollerns. When the 
next day his party conference formally elected him floor leader, the 
lines had begun to form for the political campaign. A week later 
he told the correspondent of the New York Times why he hoped his 
party might win in Maine on September 9, and carry both houses 
in November: c it will best promote the one great object . . . speedy 
and complete victory'; and he went on to describe his party as the 
one best adapted to the intricate task of reconstruction. Fess fol- 
lowed him with a formal manifesto: 'Republican success will not 
only insure the most vigorous prosecution of the war, but it will be 
a guaranty against a compromise, and, therefore, an inconclusive 
peace, a "peace without victory." * He declared that after peace 
the United States would need in Congress 'the nation's best talent.' 
It was impossible for Republican leaders to oppose the war, 
even had they desired it, because their constituents had gone fully 
to war and would have rejected them. It would have been suicidal 
in the party sense, since such a course would have invited the 
Administration to turn the election into a test of loyalty, would 
have guaranteed a Democratic victory, and would have left the 
Republican Party tainted as disloyal. The Lodge manifesto, 
suggesting a war loyalty greater than the President's, offered a way 
to fight; but it was difficult to determine when and how. The two 
houses of Congress, only in intermittent session during midsummer, 
had little business on their hands, and many of their members 
were on vacation. The Democratic Senate whip, Lewis of Illinois, 


was abroad, 'whiskers, spats, rainbow vest, and all/ as a caustic 
Representative described him. He was making victory speeches to 
Allied audiences instead of working on easy renomination at home. 
The faithful remnant on the Capitol front had bills involving more 
detail than principle while they waited for the revenue law to run 
the gantlet of committees. There was a huge deficiency appro- 
priation bill; and the eighteen-to-forty-five enrollment bill, which 
became a law on August 31; and a matter of war-time prohibition 
which made Northern constituencies restive and upset the budget 
by cutting off the revenue from alcohol; and the proposed Con- 
stitutional Amendment for woman suffrage which was hung up in 
the Senate. This last continued hung up, even after the President 
visited the Senate on September 30 to urge approval as a war 
measure c a vitally necessary war measure.' He needed the 
passage as a politician if for no other reason, because militant 
suffragists were holding him personally responsible for the delay 
in Congress, and Democratic members up for re-election were 
facing organized opposition because of the failure of the party to 
endorse the vote. 

The events of the autumn kept the canvass slow, deferring an 
opening for a party fight. Irrepressible voices from either side 
attacked the other on its record on the war, making small headway. 
But leaders watched their step. By tacit agreement the adjourn- 
ment of major politics was prolonged into October, for the Fourth 
Liberty Loan was under way and McAdoo had announced the 
necessity to raise six billions, by four and one-fourth per cent 
bonds, to run for twenty years. The curt rebuff to Austria, re- 
leased September 16, was curt enough for Lodge; The Govern- 
ment of the United States . . . will entertain no proposal for a con- 
ference upon a matter concerning which it has made its position 
and purpose so plain.* As politician the President could not have 
afforded to speak otherwise. As President he was expected to 
speak this way; and Lodge characterized the answer as one to 
meet 'with universal approval.* 

The fourth drive for funds, organized in the Federal Reserve 
Districts with even greater care than its three predecessors had 


been, opened on September 28 to the tune of action dispatches 
from the Meuse-Argonne, and closed October 19 with the loan 
again oversubscribed. There were war trophies now which were 
sent on tour to arouse enthusiasm, and American heroes, crippled 
in action. Charles Dana Gibson and Howard Chandler Christy 
and their coadjutors papered the land with flaming posters. Mary 
Pickford did her bit. And success was reached in spite of a handi- 
cap that would have obstructed politics as well as patriotism. 

The 'Spanish flu' came to America. Whence the epidemic 
came, and how, was a matter for harassed doctors, ignorant of its 
pathology. It raised huge casualty lists and filled hospitals in 
France. It permeated the Army camps in the United States. It 
overspread the country until town councils forbade citizens to 
appear in public without the muslin masks that were designed to 
check infection. Theaters and schools were closed and the movie 
producers of Hollywood cut down on their release of films. 
Public meetings were ordered to the open air or banned. The 
desperate effort to check contagion by preventing crowds cut into 
the audiences that had been expected to listen to the orators on 
tour. The political meetings which might have given life to the 
campaign were curtailed. The President himself gave up the 
trip that might, if taken, have done more than float the loan. 
He gave it up on the ground of public business and forewent the 
last great stroke of political guidance that might have left him in 
November still the undisputed leader of his people. 

He launched the loan, however, speaking in the Metropolitan 
Opera House in New York on the evening of September 27. 
Here he faced his three audiences in his three roles, with a message 
for each. For his party, he had to stress the note taken in the reply 
to Austria. For his country, he had to stress the winning of the 
war. For the world, enemy or Allied, he had to restate the aims 
with which he had already gripped its masses and softened the 
allegiance of enemy peoples to their war Governments. 

He repudiated compromise: 'no peace shall be obtained by any 
kind of compromise or abatement of the principles we have 
avowed/ He stressed a 'peoples' war 5 in which the 'common will 


of mankind has been substituted for the particular purposes of in- 
dividual States'; in which 'the thought of the mass of men, whom 
statesmen are supposed to instruct and lead, has grown more and 
more unclouded, more and more certain of what it is that they are 
fighting for.' The German people/ he said, 'must by this time be 
fully aware that we cannot accept the word of those who forced 
this war upon us. 3 There must be, he declared, a league of nations; 
without which 'peace will rest in part upon the word of outlaws 
and only upon that word.' He challenged the leaders of the Allies 
to answer their people as to aims as explicitly as he had done it, 
and to criticize him should he be in any way mistaken' in his inter- 
pretation of the issues. He enumerated five 'particulars' in elabora- 
tion of his Fourteen Points: 

First. The impartial justice meted out must involve no discrimi- 
nation between those to whom we wish to be just and those to 
whom we do not wish to be just. It must be a justice that plays no 
favorites and knows no standard but the equal rights of the several 
peoples concerned. 

Second. No special or separate interest of any single nation or 
any group of nations can be made the basis of any part of the 
settlement which is not consistent with the common interest of all. 

Third. There can be no leagues or alliances or special covenants 
and understandings within the general and common family of 
the league of nations. 

Fourth. And, more specifically, there can be no special, selfish, 
economic combinations within the league and no employment or 
any form of economic boycott or exclusion except as the power of 
economic penalty by exclusion from the markets of the world may 
be vested in the league of nations itself as a means of discipline 
and control. 

Fifth. All international agreements and treaties of every kind 
must be made known in their entirety to the rest of the world. 

Wilson spoke for the loan on a Friday night, and before the week- 
end was over the whole two hundred miles of Western Front was 
again in motion, with American divisions fighting in each of the 
armies. As Americans read his words, they read, too, that Bul- 
garian envoys were seeking the headquarters of General Franchet 


d'Esperey, ready to accept peace without conditions. The 
Salonild drive, started September 15, was already over. On 
Monday, September 30, Bulgaria laid down arms in unconditional 
surrender. The alliance of the Central Powers was broken and the 
uninterrupted line from the Baltic to Palestine was no longer in- 
tact. Damascus fell to Allenby the next day, his victory pointing 
to the near moment when Turkey, too, completely isolated, would 
leave the Central Powers to shift for themselves and abandon terms 
in search for peace. 

At Berlin and at the German headquarters in the field the note 
had changed. Screened from Allied observation by the skill of the 
command, as the armies backed away from old positions, the note 
was now of despair. Memoirs reveal the conviction that the war 
began to be lost on July 18. By August 14 the leaders had given 
up hope of enforcing German will upon the Allies. They were now 
pressing upon the political government for immediate peace lest 
they be broken in the field and all be lost. They could not give 
guaranties of ability to hold together long enough for orderly re- 
tirement to the Rhine front. Behind the screen of the armies began 
a battle of the wits to win a promise that the peace should not be 
more bitter than the doctrine of the Fourteen Points, as now inter- 
preted by the five 'particulars' of September 27. Woodrow Wilson 
had thus far been floating his doctrine upon the winds; he was now 
compelled to maneuver for it against the avidity of the enemy 
ready to accept what it must, and the reluctance of the Allies. 
The contest came to a focus on his desk, since he alone was in any 
way morally bound by the terms he had phrased, and since his 
country alone was completely free to discuss a peace. 

Inside Germany, where never was the relentless one-minded 
bund that Allied imagery set up, the people were out of hand. The 
more liberal groups, not easy to control when battles were won, 
became unmanageable when battles were lost. There was validity 
in the picture of the German people as something different from 
the Government that ruled them. Death, hunger, and politics 
had for a year made it increasingly harder for the Imperial 
Government to carry on. Demands for parliamentary control of 


the Government and for electoral reform were impossible equally 
to talk down or to suppress. And as it became clear that Wilson 
would make no peace with military autocrats, the autocrats sought 
to disguise themselves as something else while their domestic 
enemies sought to abolish them in fact. At the end of September 
the resignation of the Imperial Chancellor, von Hertling, was in 
the hands of the Emperor; on October 2 a new Chancellor, Prince 
Maximilian of Baden, something of a liberal, was in office to dis- 
cover on his doorstep the imperative demand of the army that he 
find peace now. Three days later Max announced to the Reichstag 
that he had made appeal to the President of the United States. 
The first peace note, transmitted through the Swiss charge 
d'affaires, did not reach Lansing until Monday morning, October 
7; but already its substance had reached the headlines. And when 
the Senate convened on Monday the Republican leaders were 
convinced that the peace plot was at hand. McCumber was ready 
with a concurrent resolution, 'That there shall be no cessation of 
hostilities and no armistice until the Imperial German Govern- 
ment shall disband its armies and surrender its arms and muni- 
tions, together with the Navy, to the United States and her allies in 
this war.' Norris of Nebraska read into the Congressional Record the 
'unconditional surrender* note of Grant to Buckner. Republican 
fears were voiced lest Wilson should allow himself to be hood- 
winked. Democratic responses, not less insistent for complete 
victory, saw victory embraced within the terms stated by the 
President. What Germany asked (and what Austria-Hungary 
endorsed) was that the President should 'take steps for the 
restoration of peace,' invite the belligerents to name plenipotenti- 
aries to discuss it, and bring about 'the immediate conclusion of a 
general armistice on land, on water, and in the air. 3 Prince Max 
avowed that his Government accepted, 'as a basis for the peace 
negotiations, the program laid down by the President of the 
United States' in his various utterances from the Fourteen Points 
to the five 'particulars.' There was no doubt then, nor is there 
now, that the overture was a desperate attempt to get better 
terms than would be possible should the war continue. To this 


extent by the concealment of the German extremity the 
overture was indeed a German trick. 

While Senators safeguarded the constitutional right of their 
body to pass on treaties the President withdrew to his study. In 
Allied capitals the principals were nervous lest he, in his freedom 
of action, should involve them further than they cared to be in- 
volved. He summoned House to Washington and had him pack 
his trunks for Paris. House recommended as the response a color- 
less note announcing that the President would confer with the 
Allies. It could not be believed that Germany was really through; 
nor could there be thought of lessening ultimate victory by calling 
off the drive. The President took counsel, kept the discussion open 
since it might lead to peace, but conceded nothing. On Tuesday 
afternoon Lansing handed to the Swiss charge and to the press a 
note that called the bluff. 

Not showing a diplomatic hand, the President asked certain 
things and stated others. First, he inquired whether German 
acceptance of his terms was such that 'entering into discussions 
would be only to agree upon the practical details of their applica- 
tion'; second, he advised that he could not propose an armistice to 
his associates while the armies of the Central Powers were 'upon 
their soil'; third, he asked, what would have been grievously im- 
pertinent in normal times: 'whether the Imperial Chancellor is 
speaking merely for the constituted authorities of the Empire who 
have so far conducted the war/ 

Each day was bringing a new battle-front in France and crowd- 
ing it closer to the line of German communications. Foch was pre- 
paring to extend the front into Lorraine, and Liggett was on 
October 12 assigned to command the Second Army. The new 
Imperial Chancellor was himself discovering the degree of de- 
moralization which the army folk had not uncovered to the 
political authorities. He had gained no relief by asking for a con- 
ference. He could neither draw back nor assert that he was not 
speaking for the old 'constituted authorities.' In his second note, 
October 12, meeting the inquiries of the President, he omitted the 
word 'Imperial' and described the 'present German Government' 


as having been Termed by conferences and in agreement with the 
great majority of the Reichstag.' He declared his proposal to be 
supported by 'the will of the majority' and in 'the name of the 
German Government and of the German people.' In their name 
he avowed that his Government (he spoke also for Austria), Tor 
the purpose of bringing about an armistice, declares itself ready to 
comply with the propositions of the President in regard to evacua- 
tion. 5 He was categorical in asserting that the 'German Govern- 
ment has accepted the terms laid down by President Wilson.' 
Critics from all parties were quick to note that the Chancellor had 
stopped short of saying that his office was the political agent of the 
Reichstag majority. 

The unofficial text of this second German note, broadcast 
instantly from Nauen, was before the President in advance of the 
arrival Monday morning, October 14, of the Swiss charge carrying 
his decode of the original. House and Lansing were with the 
President as he considered which way to turn. Baker was just back 
from France and England with eye-witness reports of the Allied 
effort. The Republican Senators, assembling Monday morning, 
plunged immediately into discussion of the note in language that 
drew from Ashurst the hope that their speeches were c not made for 
the purpose of securing any partisan advantage in the coming 
elections.' Interrupted for luncheon, the discussion ran through 
the afternoon, with Brandegee, McCumber, and the Democratic 
Reed leading in 'dolorous speeches' in criticism of the corre- 
spondence; and with Cummins of Iowa making a proposal for 
'capital punishment for a nation.' They were not stopped when 
Ashurst, back from a visit to the White House, assured the Senate 
'that when the President does speak ... it will be a speech . . . 
which will not in any way relax the iron grip which our soldiers . . . 
have in Flanders and in France.' Their uncertainty as to the 
answer was soon ended. Before the day's work ceased at half- 
past six, Hitchcock was able to read the Senate the text of the reply 
that had already gone forward. Even Lodge liked it: 'eminently 
satisfactory' he described it to the Christian Science Monitor. 

In the light of the two notes already received, the President 


was 'frank and direct.' Germany must clearly understand 
Austria would be considered separately that evacuation and 
armistice were matters to be determined, if at all, not by any 
mixed commission, but by 'the military advisers'; and that the 
United States would accept no arrangement 'which does not pro- 
vide absolutely satisfactory safeguards and guaranties of the main- 
tenance of the present military supremacy 5 of the Allied armies. 
He assumed that the Allied Governments would agree with him 
in this. No armistice could be considered while the German 
armies persisted in their 'illegal and inhumane practices/ while 
they devastated Flanders and France as they withdrew, or while 
German submarines sunk 'passenger ships at sea.' And he quoted 
his words, spoken at Mount Vernon on July 4, to the effect that at 
the peace there must be destroyed 'every arbitrary power any- 
where that can ... of its single choice disturb the peace of the 
world or ... at least its reduction to virtual impotency. 5 The power 
hitherto controlling the German people was of the sort he meant. 
'It is indispensable that the Governments associated against 
Germany should know beyond a peradventure with whom they 
are dealing.' The conversation still lay open; but the war went 

The stage-settings of the negotiation were changing while the 
actors spoke their lines. The Fourteen Points acquired new mean- 
ing and limitation as events developed, in spite of enemy effort 
to make of them a specific contract to whose benefits Germany 
and Austria were entitled whenever they should choose to claim 
them. To Austria-Hungary Lansing indicated an altered attitude 
on October 18, pointing out that the 'autonomous development' 
of its peoples, demanded in the tenth point, must be considered 
in the light of what its peoples had done for themselves. The 
Jugo-Slavs had so defended their aspirations for freedom, not 
autonomy, as to entitle them to recognition. The Czecho-Slovaks, 
with enough of their people in the United States to make a nation, 
had declared their independence and as early as September 3 the 
United States had recognized their right to it and had conceded 
military recognition to their belligerency. Hungary was declaring 


its independence of the Dual Monarchy while the German 
Chancellor was brooding over his next reply. 

It was no longer possible for Germany to acquire merit by 
offering a withdrawal from Belgium, one of the much-used baits 
for peace. Its army was being ejected thence. Albert entered his 
recaptured Channel towns in triumph and the French were ringing 
their own church bells in Lille and Laon. There was not much 
bargaining value even in the discontinuance of submarine activity, 
for the North Sea mine barrage was nearly tight. 

Back to Berlin, as the note of October 14 was put upon the 
cables, the question of surrender came, and back to German army 
headquarters. In Berlin, Prince Max and his Foreign Secretary 
Solf could not let go of what they had begun. At headquarters 
the army leaders, who had forced Max to open the discussion, 
and who saw the United States still outside their trap, were pre- 
pared to argue that surrender in the field would be no worse than 
the acceptance of all that was stated or implied in the American 
notes. Much of what happened in the next six days was revealed 
by the German Republican Government, a few months later, 
when it published the documents to show how the army had let 
the people down. In Vorgeschichte des Waffenstillstandes (1919) 
which the Carnegie Endowment translated in 1924 as The Pre- 
liminary History of the Armistice it let the papers tell the story 
*wie es eigentlich gewesen* from the beginning at the council held 
at Spa on August 14. Back to Potsdam, too, went the question of 
surrender. Here it took the form of abdication, or something 
worse. The dynasty of William II was identified in the German 
mind, as in that of Woodrow Wilson, as chief among those masters 
who had betrayed the German people. 

The answer of Germany, dated October 20, came through 
from London in informal shape in time to be carried in the morn- 
ing papers of Tuesday, October 22. The official translation, re- 
leased by the State Department that night, was printed the next 
morning by the side of the response of the President. Wilson 
was prompt; so prompt, indeed, that he missed the political ad- 
vantage he might have picked from a delay dragging out the 


proceedings until after the elections which were only two weeks 
off. He was able now to take action, after more than a fortnight 
of Inquiry designed to clear the air and to uncover traps. 

Solf signed the German note of grieved submission; grieved 
because there was no room for negotiation concerning terms of 
armistice or of evacuation, but submissive in the hope that the 
President would 'approve of no demand which would be irre- 
concilable with the honor of the German people and with opening 
a way to a peace of justice.' Grieved, too, he was, because of the 
charge that retreating troops had done unwarrantable damage 
and that submarines had operated heartlessly as well as illegally. 
But his Government accepted what it must. He made specific 
admission that c Hitherto the representation of the people in the 
German Empire has not been endowed with an influence on the 
formation of the Government.' But he pledged that the Govern- 
ment just formed was different, based on equal and universal 
franchise under a new constitutional scheme, and that now and 
in the future no Government could stay in office 'without possess- 
ing the confidence of the majority of the Reichstag.' Conceiving 
this to be a 'clear and unequivocal' response, Solf begged the 
President to 'bring about an opportunity for fixing the details' of 
armistice and evacuation. 

Wilson had gone as far as he could go alone. The nerves of the 
Allied leaders, uneasy lest he should go too far, had been soothed 
by the stern caution of his notes. But it was beyond his power to 
grant an armistice on any terms. All he could do, he had done. 
His note of October 23 admitted that he could no longer 'decline 
to take up with the Governments with which the Government of 
the United States is associated the question of an armistice.' 
He had accordingly transmitted to them the correspondence, with 
the suggestion that if they were prepared to consider an armistice 
on the basis thus proposed they call upon their military advisers 
to draft terms to protect their interests and to 'ensure to the As- 
sociated Governments the unrestricted power to safeguard and 
enforce the details of the peace to which the German Government 
has agreed/ But he warned that Government that the only 


possible armistice would be one leaving the Associated Powers 
"in a position to enforce any arrangements . . . and to make a 
renewal of hostilities on the part of Germany impossible.' 

Candor forced him, in his concluding paragraph, to remind 
Solf that the German statements as to Reichstag control con- 
tained no guaranty that the control would last, or that it was even 
yet complete. It was not evident that the political government 
could control the military, or that the power of the King of Prussia 
in the Empire was impaired. The peace of the world called for 
plain speaking and he was harsh. The world could not trust 
'those who have hitherto been the masters of German policy' 
and peace could be made only with Veritable representatives of 
the German people who have been assured of a genuine constitu- 
tional standing/ If the Associated Powers must deal now with 
'the military masters and the monarchical autocrats of Germany* 
they must demand 'not peace negotiations but surrender/ 

In the covering note with which Lansing passed to the Allies 
the correspondence, it was stated that the President had 'en- 
deavored to safeguard with the utmost care the interests of the 
peoples at war with Germany/ and the hope was expressed that 
each Ally 'will think he has succeeded and will be willing to co- 
operate in the steps which he has suggested/ 

The matter of armistice and evacuation was thereafter in the 
hands of the Associated Powers, with every Cabinet debating 
the details, and with Foch, as chief of the military advisers, calling 
his generals into conference. The Supreme War Council, mori- 
bund since July, was called again to life as the clearing-house for 
Allied purpose. House, who had sailed after the drafting of the 
note of October 14, was in Paris by the twenty-sixth, bearing 
credentials from the President and empowered to engage with 
leaders there in conferences while the military advisers drafted 
the paragraphs of an armistice agreement. In the United States 
there was a lull while the Allies debated; a lull so far as diplomacy 
was concerned, but a vacuum to be abhorred by politics. The 
day that Colonel House reached France, October 25, the President 
did either too much or too little; but whatever its dimensions 


his act dug ground from beneath his feet so as to endanger his 
ability as President or as prophet to complete the work be had 

The lagging canvass had kept politics largely adjourned during 
the period of the loan drive, the flu epidemic, and the exciting 
days of conversations with Germany; adjourned, but not sine die. 
Each gain of the President as he crowded the German Government 
into its corner made it harder for Republican strategists to chart a 
battle or to make capital out of a claim to patriotism more stalwart 
than his. Sometimes the opposition leaders approved his steps, 
sometimes regretted them because they were so successful, and 
sometimes they deplored them. 

The dilemma of the President was that of every President who 
believes in his mission. Confident in the soundness of his policy 
as a national policy, he must display it as national and invite 
public support regardless of party. Yet the mechanism for its 
accomplishment cannot be other than political, and the ability 
of any honest President to serve his people hangs on his ability 
as a partisan leader to secure enough votes to keep his party friends 
in office. When, however, he acts the party leader to defend his 
majority he invites the charge of political hypocrisy. Woodrow 
Wilson, the professor of government, would have had no difficulty 
in making a sound diagnosis of the party need. Woodrow Wilson, 
the politician, as he carried through the program of his first two 
years, would have known what to do and how to do it. The 
historian is driven to choose between a belief that the politician 
had lost his insight and a belief that the prophet was so wrapt 
in his prophecy that he lost touch with reality. For whatever 
reason, the grip on politics was lost. 

As minority President, in his first Congress, Wilson had possessed 
a congressional majority bestowed upon him by the Republican 
schism of 1912, with freshmen Democrats sitting for constituencies 
unused to such representation. In 1914 the elections, reinforcing 
a little the Democrats in the Senate, had revealed the beginning 
of a recovery movement whereby Republicans, without acquiring 
a majority of the House had regained some sixty Representatives. 


The elections in the presidential year two years later, 1916, in- 
stalled a Congress that was Democratic only by courtesy. In the 
Senate a Democratic majority of under a dozen held on; but in 
the House there were more Republicans than Democrats, and the 
opposition might have organized the House for the war Congress 
had it been able to command the votes of a handful of independent 
Representatives. War or no war, the United States was settling 
back to its normal Republican control. If the Congress to be 
elected in 1918 was to be under Democratic control, permitting 
the United States to escape the sabotage inherent in a divided 
Congress, it was vital for Democrats to hold all of what they had, 
to pick up here and there a few more Representatives, and to 
defend in their seats the half-dozen Senators from normally Re- 
publican States who still held on. Except as death had thinned 
their number, the Senators precariously elected with Woodrow 
Wilson in 1912 must be re-elected or replaced by other Democrats. 
To crowd them out by any safe procedure was sound Republican 
politics; to save them for the party was Democratic necessity. 
And beneath the surface lull of politics pressure was turned on in 
those Republican constituencies where Democrats were still in 

When Woodrow Wilson announced in May that 'politics is 
adjourned, 5 he had not yet forgotten his disaster in Wisconsin, 
where Paul O. Husting had in 1914 profited by Republican dis- 
sension to attain the Senate. Dead by his duck-gun in 1917, 
Husting was lost to the Administration. In the special election, 
in April, 1918, to choose his successor, Administration Democrats 
made every effort to retain the seat, although before Paul Husting 
there had been no Democratic Senator elected from Wisconsin 
since the Democratic interlude of 1891-93. A candidate was 
found in Joseph E. Davies. The Vice-President, Marshall, in- 
vaded Wisconsin, reinforcing J. Hamilton Lewis, and 'spilled the 
beans, 5 as he endorsed Davies against La Follette 5 s old lieutenant 
Irvine L. Lenroot. The President did a damaging bit by calling 
the 'acid test 5 against Lenroot, who had voted against tabling the 
McLemore resolution. He helped elect Lenroot, and provided the 


caption, 'acid test/ for the National Security League to use in 
the autumn. 

The honors were not uneven between May and October, as 
both parties avoided open political aggressives. The President 
proscribed Democrats in Democratic constituencies, but otherwise 
generally kept silent, save in Michigan. Here he invited Henry 
Ford, of no known politics, to enter the primaries as a Democrat. 
Ford entered both primaries, seeking also Republican endorsement 
for the seat which William Alden Smith had held since Russell 
A. Alger had vacated it. Against him in the Republican primary 
in August a former Republican Secretary of the Navy, Truman 
H. Newberry, was entered. Ford gained his Democratic nomina- 
tion, but lost the other to Newberry whose overample financial 
backing made a national scandal out of the primary, and gave 
body to later Democratic gibes that the Republican majority of 
the Senate was e out on bail/ Newberry was elected in November, 
not thereby changing the Republican strength in the Senate. 

In Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, and Kansas Democratic Sena- 
tors first elected in 1912 were under fire. In New Hampshire such 
a Democrat did not even seek renomination. In Missouri, nor- 
mally Democratic, Republicans had hopes of ousting the tempo- 
rary incumbent who had gone in on the death of William J. Stone. 
Should Democratic successors fail to get these seats, all of them, 
the Democratic majority was likely to be lost for the next two 
years, and Henry Cabot Lodge would certainly become chair- 
man of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to receive 
whatever treaty the President of the United States should transmit 
for concurrence. 

With the note of October 23 out of the way, the President 
yielded to nagging from within his party and to exasperation at 
the Republican roll-calling in which speakers asserting a Republi- 
can war loyalty recited the difficulties which the Administration 
had had with its own partisans: Champ Clark, and Claude 
Kitchin, and Stanley H. Dent (who had let the management of 
the Selective Service Act pass into the hands of the Republican 
Kahn of California), and Thomas S. Martin, the Democratic leader 


of the Senate, and Stone, chairman of the Foreign Relations Com- 
mittee. On October 25 the White House issued a political mani- 
festo addressed to 'My fellow countrymen/ and thereby brought 
politics fully back to life. If the people approved his leadership, 
Wilson urged them to permit him to continue it by 'returning a 
Democratic majority to both the Senate and the House of Repre- 
sentatives. 3 He paid tribute to the patriotism of the leaders of 
the minority, but spoke 'plain truth 5 in describing them as 'anti- 
Administration. 9 They had sought to take the conduct of the war 
out of his hands; and if they should be returned as leaders to the 
next Congress the world would interpret it 'as a repudiation of 
my leadership. 5 After his appeal he stayed out of the last days of 
the canvass; but he had done too little to arouse a non-partisan 
support for his Administration and too much to let it be hoped 
that the Republican tacticians would take it without rejoinder. 

Hays, gloves off, was instantly in print describing the appeal 
as 'ungracious . . . wanton . . . mendacious.' Lodge and Smoot, 
Gillett and Fess, subscribed to a counter-manifesto. Republicans 
who had urged a party victory that they, better than Democrats, 
might support the war, denounced the President for asking that 
his own party might receive endorsement. Roosevelt, who had 
himself in 1898 demanded a Republican Congress so that William 
McKinley might complete his work, thundered defiance from 
Carnegie Hall. Having opposed a coalition Government in 
January, he now abused the President for not having formed one. 
He demanded war continuance until there should be an un- 
conditional surrender, and a Republican Congress that might 
prevent the writing of the Fourteen Points into the agreements 
of the world. He foresaw in a league of nations a United States 
outvoted by Asiatics, an outside interference with American im- 
migration policies, and, in point three, an abandonment of the 
principle of the protective tariff. For a full week the campaign 
raged in such a way as to unsettle every Democratic incumbent 
of a seat that he had gained with the help of Republican votes and 
to accelerate the re-establishment of the normal American equi- 
librium of Republican control. Moreover, on the morning, No- 


vember 5, when the votes were cast, it was known that the need for 
war loyalty to an Administration had passed into history, for the 
Allied consent to accede to a request for armistice terms was on its 
way from Versailles, through Washington, to Germany. Should 
Germany accept the ultimatum, the acceptance would constitute 
complete surrender; should Germany reject, the victorious armies 
of the pursuit could write their own peace in a victory now within 
easy reach. 

The votes reflected the national state of mind as well as the 
partisan emotion. The Democrats lost the House, with Republi- 
cans seating nearly twenty more Representatives than an absolute 
majority. They lost the pivotal Senators, not to be compensated 
for by taking a Massachusetts seat away from Republicans. 
They lost so many that by a majority of one the control of the 
Senate passed to those for whom a league of nations built by 
Woodrow Wilson had no charm. And while the people voted, 
the President relayed to Germany the word that 'Marshal Foch 
has been authorized by the Government of the United States 
and the Allied Governments to receive properly accredited repre- 
sentatives of the German Government, and to communicate to 
them the terms of an armistice/ 



JL HE real significance of the Democratic loss of Congress was 
clouded for the laity. The Republican leaders knew what it 
meant. In a parliamentary government it would have brought 
about at once a new cabinet with a new prime minister. The 
political leaders among the Allies had a glimpse of its meaning; a 
glimpse brought into focus as private letters from Americans they 
knew described the President as a leader without authority. But 
the European peoples, seeing Wilson still in office, assumed that he 
still possessed the power to lead* And Americans, wrapped up in 
victory and peace, with another short session of the Democratic 
Congress still ahead, generally forgot that it was only another 
c lame-duck' session. The vision of a 'world safe for democracy/ to 
be kept safe by a league of nations endorsed by the United States, 
continued to have visibility clearer than that possessed by mere 
realities of party politics. 

The war continued, with an end in sight, but with no let-up. 
There was still no certainty that Germany would accept the devas- 
tating terms laid down by the Allies. The War Department took a 
chance, quietly stopping the sailing of more men and preparing 
quickly to cancel unfilled war contracts. But with an enemy in 
whose complete collapse it was impossible really to believe, 
prudence required that pressure should not be relaxed until the 
very end. The Italian armies had started back to Caporetto on 
October 24 and Austrian elimination was now at hand. 

Paris became the center of the negotiation after the President on 
October 23 transmitted the German notes and his responses. And 
on October 31 the Supreme War Council held formal session. 

The meeting had been deferred until substantial agreement had 


been reached upon most of the matters at issue. So far as armistice 
terms were concerned, these were in the hands of Foch and there 
was no difference of opinion upon their complete, conclusive 
severity. They were to end the war beyond a possibility of reopen- 
ing it. From Foch was expected, too, counsel in the matter of 
policy: should there be an armistice at all, or should the aggressive 
be continued until the enemy surrendered in the field? 

Outside the possible competence of Foch was the question of 
larger policy, upon which the position of the United States was 
firm. The German notes had made desperate efforts to suggest 
that Germany was animated by a desire for peace on the Wilson 
basis rather than because of inability longer to resist the will of the 
victor. But by this time the Allies knew better, and before they 
pledged themselves in an armistice to any principles that should 
bind them in a subsequent peace, they could not escape the neces- 
sity to re-examine the Fourteen Points and the five particulars, 5 
and to determine the extent to which they were willing to be 
bound. House put it bluntly to the Premiers that if they rejected 
the proposals the President would be forced to drop the negotia- 
tion. This, said House, 'would leave the President free ... to 
determine whether the United States should continue to fight for 
the principles laid down by the Allies/ Anticipating, as Wilson 
blindly did, that Wilson would retain a majority and might 
be present in person at the peace conference backed by his au- 
thority over world idealism, the Allies were unwilling to permit 
a wedge to be driven between themselves and him. They might 
have been less unwilling had the decision been delayed until after 
the election. Wilson had for the moment a strong grip on their 
weary home constituencies. With victory at hand the world 
desired peace. 

Hence arose the Allied discussions at home, the talks with House 
to get at the inner content of the mind of the President, and the 
decision that if Germany should accept the armistice they could 
afford to accept most of the Wilson doctrine. 

On two points in variation or elaboration of the doctrine they 
were immovable. When they told the President they were ready 



for Foch to receive the German envoys, they told him also of 
amendments to his doctrine. These he transmitted to Germany on 
November 5. His second point, they said, 'relating to what is 
usually described as the freedom of the seas, is open to various 
interpretations, some of which they could not accept. They must, 
therefore, reserve to themselves complete freedom on this subject 
when they enter the peace conference. 5 To this extent Wilson's 
doctrinal contest with the Allies paused at less than victory for 
him; and Germany received the armistice knowing this. In the 
second place, and here the President agreed with the Allies as he 
transmitted their decision to Germany, they expanded his declara- 
tion that 'invaded territories must be restored as well as evacuated 
and freed.' The Associated Powers removed all doubts: 'they un- 
derstand that compensation will be made by Germany for all 
damage done to the civilian population of the Allies and to their 
property by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea, and from 
the air.' 

Subject to these qualifications, and the acceptance of the 
Armistice, they agreed to make peace on the terms laid down by 
the President. They were well on the way to their agreement, after 
private conference, when Foch advised the Supreme War Council 
on October 3 1 that if necessary he could force the enemy to 'his 
complete defeat.' In the discussions with his commanders which 
he had begun five days before, Foch had found himself between 
Haig and Pershing. The former believed an armistice to be 
expedient and desired it not to be too harsh to be accepted. The 
latter preferred no armistice at all. Foch asserted that such an 
armistice as he would draft would accomplish the purposes of the 
Allies, and that with these accomplished the war should stop. 
Events in the field were making it each day easier to lighten the 
demands. Turkey had signed a surrender on October 30, effective 
the next day when the Council met. And the papers of November 
3 carried in streamer headlines: 'Austria Quits.' The Austrian 
surrender was effective at 3 P.M. on Monday, November 4, leaving 
Germany in complete isolation before the American polls were 
opened. That afternoon the Premiers signed the terms of the 


Armistice, House cabled them in confidence to the President (for 
they were to be published only after Germany had asked for them), 
and victory hung upon the degree of the defeat of Germany. On 
election day the German fleet at Kiel was in the hands of muti- 
neers, resisting an order to go to sea, and Germany had no longer 
any option. Ludendorff was already out of his command; and on 
the night of Saturday, November 9, the Emperor crossed the fron- 
tier of the Netherlands, an ex-Kaiser, seeking asylum. 

Immediately on the receipt of the American note of November 
5 the German envoys started for the frontier, guided by wireless 
from Foch who indicated the sector where fire would be stopped 
permitting them to cross the lines. French guides received them 
late on Thursday night, bringing them early Friday morning to 
the private train of Foch, parked in the Forest of Compiegne. 
Here, from the posture in which they awaited the offer of an 
armistice, they were driven to the humiliation of requesting terms. 
No proposal from them was entertained. No immediate cessation 
of hostilities was granted. They were given seventy-two hours in 
which to sign the memorandum; hours during which Foch con- 
tinued his preparations for the extension of his active line into 
Lorraine. Hopeful, though without warrant for a hope, since all 
they had received was permission to ask for an armistice, the 
German delegates were halted by the severity of the military 
terms. Their powers to sign were insufficient to warrant them in 
signing the military memorandum; and although Foch was 
adamant upon the three-day limit, he permitted them to dispatch 
couriers to Germany for the additional authority. 

The paper handed them by Foch and the British Admiral 
Wemyss, who had been delegated to act with him (since the terms 
were naval as well as military), called for a complete evacuation of 
the West within fourteen days and an occupation by the Associated 
armies step by step with the evacuation. It called for the evacua- 
tion of the left bank of the Rhine, the occupation by the victors of 
bridgeheads and sectors at Cologne, Coblenz, and Mainz, and the 
neutralization of a strip east of the Rhine from Switzerland to the 
Dutch border, forty kilometers wide at the western end, thirty 


kilometers next to Switzerland. It called for immediate repatria- 
tion of prisoners of war from German camps, without reciprocity, 
and of inhabitants of occupied country who had been deported, 
for a cessation of damage, a delivery of military establishments and 
supplies and rolling stock for the railways, and a surrender of guns 
and planes. It called also for the surrender of the German sub- 
marine fleet and the battle fleet, and carried detailed annexes 
that stripped away all fighting power. It dealt in similar detail 
with the various fronts on which Germany was fighting, and also 
required the abandonment of the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and 
Bucharest, extorted from Russia and Rumania as Germany had 
put them out of the war. It reserved to the Allies and to the United 
States full right to make claim for damage done, to requisition 
property as needed in the German territory their armies should 
occupy, and to maintain without relaxation the blockade condi- 
tions they had set up. It was to last for thirty-six days, with option 
to extend, subject, however, to denunciation on forty-eight hours' 
notice. Six hours after its signing the guns were to cease firing. 

Harsh as the Armistice was, it must be signed; though by whom 
was a matter of conjecture as revolution swept over Germany on 
the day after its delivery. The Hohenzollern abdication ended the 
Empire on Saturday. The Provisional Government of what was to 
become the new Reich was set up on Sunday with Freidrich 
Ebert, a Socialist, as first among the six commissaries. Early on 
Monday morning, barely within the three-day limit, the envoys 
with their full powers were back with Foch. At 5 A.M., Paris time, 
Matthias Erzberger signed the first of the German signatures to the 
Armistice, pursuant to which at 1 1 A.M., on the morning of Novem- 
ber ii, the fighting stopped. 

They signed in the Forest of Coinpi&gne early enough for the 
news to catch the morning papers of the United States, where 
streaming headlines proclaimed that 'Germany Surrenders'; 
in time to make that day a holiday as riotous as though a 'false 
armistice' had not preceded it; in time for the chaplain of the 
Senate to thank God 'because Thy power has gotten us the victory' 
and to pray for wisdom Tor the problems that confront us.' They 


signed in time, too, for Woodrow Wilson to visit the Congress in 
joint session at i P.M. to read the terms of the Armistice: 

The war thus comes to an end [he said as he completed the 
reading of the terms] ... it was the privilege of our own people to 
enter it at its most critical juncture in such fashion and in such 
force as to contribute in a way of which we are all deeply proud 

to the great result The arbitrary power of the military caste 

of Germany ... i