The United States in the World War

By John Bach McMaster | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV
THE CALL TO THE COLORS

THE call to arms found our country ill prepared for the great work which lay before it. Vast sums of money must be raised. A great army must be gathered and trained. Industries must be mobilized. A peace-loving people must be aroused to a due sense of the meaning of their entrance into the world war.

Not a moment was lost. No sooner had the President signed the joint resolution declaring that a state of war had been thrust upon us than the news was sent by wireless and by telegraph to every fort and army post; to every warship, navy yard and naval station in our country and insular possessions; and to our Ambassadors, Ministers and consuls the world over. Every German vessel in our ports was seized, and scores of Germans, leaders in plots, were arrested in New York, Chicago and San Francisco; orders went out for the immediate mobilization of the navy, and the taking over of privately owned motor boats and yachts already enrolled; the naval militia and naval reserve were called to the colors, and the work of enlisting was taken up with renewed ardor.

The Council of National Defense and its Advisory Commission went seriously to work. Created by Act of Congress, the Council consisted of the Secretaries of War, Navy, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, and the Advisory Commission of seven men drawn from civil life, and put in charge, one of transportation, another of munitions, another of food, clothing and supplies in general; another of raw materials, minerals and metals; another of labor; another of engineering; another of medicine, surgery and sanitation.

To aid them in their work there at once sprang up a host of Boards and Committees, each to play a special part in the mobilization of our resources and industries. At the request

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