« ForrigeFortsett »
HONOR IN INDUSTRIAL SERVICE
The Worker in the Shop Who Serves His Country Faithfully is Entitled to as Much Credit as the Soldier
(From Industrial Management)
A recruiting poster used in England shows as its principal figure a middle-aged man with a child sitting on his knee. In all innocence the child is looking up into the face of its father and asking this searching question: "Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?" In the background of the poster is a khaki-clad soldier.
The appeal of that poster is sentimental and biased. To be true to the needs of the hour it should show in addition to the man in uniform another in the clothing of industry. We have always honored the man who served his country in war; today we must begin to honor the man who serves his country in industrial pursuits. For in these days of national emergency industry is equally as honorable as warfare.
Although we know as a fact that both kinds of service. carry equal honor we must not forget, overlook or minimize the appeal that the military side of war makes to strong men. Many an engineer, industrial manager and others trained in manufacturing and technology are being stirred today by the forces of conflicting appeals. The Army and Navy are calling -they need men; but industry also gives an impelling challenge -it, too, needs men. The trouble is, the latter is far less articulate than the former. It is not so well understood, and the unthinking may easily wound in spirit the man who has the qualifications for a soldier, but who elects to serve his country in the shop or factory. There are no easy days for those arteries are filled with red blood, whose hearts are courageous, and who, American through and through, are moved by the fires of patriotism to offer themselves in one of the most just and unselfish adventures that this nation has ever undertaken.
Such men must exert moral courage in order to remain in the place where they can best serve. For a while perhaps
they may be called slackers and unpatriotic. But INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT confidently predicts that before long industrial service in wartime will rank as high as military service.
President Wilson in his great proclamation on war economies referred to the placing of the Navy upon an effective war footing, and creating and equipping an army as the "simplest part of the great task to which we have addressed ourselves." He called upon the American people to realize "how many kinds and elements of capacity, and service and self sacrifice" are involved in our tremendous national enterprise. It is only too true that there are many things which must be done without which mere fighting would be fruitless. And in regard to industry in particular the President gives this vision of the need, and this declaration of his patriotic view of industrial service:
The Great International Service Army
"It is evident to every thinking man that our industries, on the farms, in the shipyards, in the mines, in the factories, must be made more prolific and more efficient than ever, and that they must be more economically managed and better adapted to the particular requirements of our task than they have been; and what I want to say is that the men and the women who devote their thought and their energy to these things will be serving the country and conducting the fight for peace and freedom just as truly and just as effectively as the men on the battlefield or in the trenches. The industrial forces of the country, men and women alike, will be a great national, a great international service army-a notable and honored host engaged in the service of the nation and the world, the efficient friends and saviors of free men everywhere. Thousands, nay hundreds of thousands, of men otherwise liable to military service will of right and of necessity be excused from that service and assigned to the fundamental, sustaining work of the fields and factories and mines, and they will be as much part of the great patriotic forces of the nation as the men under fire."
To their terrific cost Belgium, France, England and Russia did not realize the magnitude of the industrial task of twentieth century warfare, and many of their sufferings have been bitter indeed.
One of the best known Belgian machinery-building firms before the war was that of Carrèl Bros., in Ghent. During the life of the founder, this shop was looked upon as one of the foremost producers of steam engines in the world. During the years immediately preceding the war, the output had been mainly Diesel engines.
In the early days of August, 1914, when the German army threatened the Belgian frontier, a militia regiment of twelve hundred men was drawn up in one of the squares of Ghent. In that regiment were practically all of the foremen, and some three hundred of the best workmen from the Carrèl Bros. shops. That regiment went to Liegè, and met the shock of the oncoming German army. When it retreated only one hundred and fifty men remained of the twelve hundred who marched from Ghent. Think for a moment what this great loss meant to that one machine shop! How many executives in industry would like to enter their plant some morning and find that practically every foreman, and the greater part of the skilled workmen were gone-dead?
Andrew Carnegie said, when he was active as one of the great iron masters of the world, that if his plants should be swept away, he could recover his business—but if his organization, his men, were gone he could never replace them.
French and British Experience
Let us turn to a bit of French experience. French moblization called to the army men from every walk of life. They came from industry-and industry was temporarily crippled. So when Von Kluck was within seventeen miles of Paris, it is stated there was only one day's supply of shells in the protecting forts. Industry had not been producing.
The demand upon England's manufacturing power was compressed into that appeal of General French for "Shells! More shells!!"
Russia's plight was summarized by an engineer who was in charge of a base machine shop during that heart-breaking retreat that gave up Warsaw to the invaders. In conversation with an American friend he referred to those days and said: "Russia's condition is indeed terrible. She is a nation of nonengineers, and is fighting one of the greatest engineering nations of the earth."
The strain upon the industries of England and France is again shown by the facts that in England alone there are nearly 2,000,000 women working in the munition factories, and that something like 100,000 Chinese coolies have been imported to work in the shops and on the land. It is reported that a single munition plant in Paris has 10,000 Chinamen at work.
Think for a moment of the efforts that some skilled industrial executives must have put forth in order to train these unskilled men and women for productive work in the industries of our Allies! And think also that it is probable a similar task faces the men of industry in the United States.
The task is gigantic. It should appeal to any one who is fitted to undertake it. And the spirit in which it should be approached is summed up in this personal declaration, "Where can best serve, there will I serve."
Industry's Gigantic Task
Not only is the task gigantic, but it is likewise minute. This side is emphasized by Lord Northcliffe, owner of the London Times, in a brief summing up of lessons from French and British mistakes presented to the American people in a recent number of the Saturday Evening Post:
"I wonder if the casual reader of these lines realizes what that means—not as to cost, which would, of course, be gigantic but as to the minuteness of the preparations involved.
If you bring an army to France or Belgium, you realize, I suppose, that you will have to bring with it half the mechanics, of let us say a town like Bridgeport, to carry on the necessary construction repairs. You will have to take over whole French towns for their residence or build miles
of huts for them. The army behind the army in modern war is an army in itself.
The equipment, dispatch and constant reinforcement of an expeditionary force such as yours, whose nearest home base must be some three thousand miles away, is some undertaking; but we had a harder task in the case of the Boer War, nearly twenty years ago, when our home base was some seven thousand miles away. We then learned a good deal about transport by sea and land.
The fine American lad who will swing down your New York streets on his way to the transport will probably cost you, apart from his pay, at least fifty dollars a week. Ours, who are operating near home, cost us from thirty to thirtyfive dollars.
But the boy with his rifle and his uniform and his enthusiasm is only the beginning of him; the rest of him is some tons of stuff that has to do with him. I will enumerate some of the tonnage he requires:
Let us talk first about his food: I imagine the American soldier, like the British and the Canadian, will not be content to exist upon the soup, bread, cheese, meat and red wine of the Frenchman. I think he will probably not prove to be such a good cook as the Frenchman. I think he will want, in addition to almost unlimited beef, pork, bread and biscuit. All these things will have to be brought from home, for we in Europe have only just enough for ourselves. If you bring mules and horses, you will need to bring hay also, for we have got none for you; and the amount of hay your boy's horse will consume will surprise you.
In addition to your boy's food and that of his horse, there is his spare clothing, which I dare say we can provide, though we can do nothing in the way of spare horses. Think of the tonnage involved in his machine gun, his spare rifle, his revolvers and their ammunition, his steel helmet and other protective armor. Think of his boots. In one exceptional section of the Italian Army, with which I sojourned, the boot ration was twelve pairs per annum! Your boy will have to bring with him all the latest kinds of American boot-making