For a period during and immediately after the World War, Mr. Frankfurter was Chairman of the War Labor Policies Board, created for the purpose of formulating a national labor policy adequate to meet wartime needs. The following selection is from an article appearing in the Yale Reviewfor the winter of 1920, copyright Yale University Press.
JUST a bare year ago a glowing picture of our industrial relations was drawn by the authoritative presidential hand:
Our people . . . know their own business, are quick and resourceful at every readjustment, definite in purpose and self-reliant in action. . . . have heard much counsel as to the plans that should be formed and personally conducted to a happy consummation, but from no quarter have I seen any general scheme of "reconstruction" emerge which I thought it likely we could force our spirited businessmen and self- reliant laborers to accept with due pliancy and obedience.
While the war lasted we set up many agencies by which to direct the industries of the country in the services it was necessary for them to render. . . . But the moment we knew the Armistice to have been signed we took the harness off. . . . It is surprising how fast the process of return to a peace footing has moved in the three weeks since the fighting stopped. It promises to outrun any inquiry that may be instituted and any aid that may be offered. It will not be easy to direct it any better than it will direct itself. The American businessman is of quick initiative.
The contrast today between romantic forecast and stern reality is in everyone's mind and, one cannot but hope, part of every man's anxiety. Pandora's box is open--it is needless to stir feelings by even the most surgeon-like summary of the prevailing unrest. Were the proverbial messenger from Mars to visit this country