Government Organization in War Time and After: A Survey of the Federal Civil Agencies Created for the Prosecution of the War

By William Franklin Willoughby | Go to book overview

ally and steadily with only a minor "knock" here and there -- a sure indication to the watchful enemy, who had had more than a taste of what the machine could produce, that the game -- was up -- and finally the armistice and the order to reverse the engines.

To one who was in Washington from the first the changes from the wild hurryings and shoutings of April, 1917, to the grim but ordered work of the tired men and women in November, 1918, came so gradually as to be unnoticeable; the men who were fighting our battles or preparing to fight them had little, if any, chance to know how things were going at the capital; and the whole body of citizens who paid the bills and suffered most acutely of all from our growing pains were almost equally in the dark.

A picture of the various movements in perspective is therefore of real interest. I have seen models of mines made in glass which show in three dimensions the various shafts and chambers and connecting galleries. Some such device might help us to get the picture at any given moment, but it was above all a changing scene, and unless some one can invent a kaleidoscope in three dimensions, we shall have to seek our picture in the printed page.

Mr. Willoughby's book is more than a record and comment upon the happenings of the last two years. It is a valuable collection of state papers. We Americans have a way of referring to such documents with the greatest assurance, but we are not so certain to keep the provisions fresh in our memories, and in some cases perhaps we have never read them at all. For that reason the reading or rereading of documents like the Food and Fuel Control Act and the President's order for the reorganization of the War Industries Board will be a very good thing for us.

It is a striking commentary upon the dislocations that come in the train of modern warfare that so little of

-xvi-

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