What the United States is Doing to Win the War


What the United States is Doing to Win the War


Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United States




No date


Memo prepared by Frank Dilmont and others at the request of President Wilson.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


World War, 1914-1918--United States
Foreign correspondents


Morgan Willer






Document scan was taken from Library of Congress microfilm reel of the Wilson Papers. WWPL volunteers transcribed the text.


In view of America’s many war activities, which have necessarily been presented in disconnected form, President Wilson was asked by Mr. Frank Dilmot, the President of the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United States, representing some millions of readers in foreign countries, if he would not give a resume of what the United States is doing to help win the war so that friends and neutrals might know the sum of the country’s efforts. In response to this request the President made the following statement for publication:

“I believe that it is important that the world should understand the strength, the energy and above all the spirit of the volunteer which the American people are now adding to the efforts of our allies that some idea may be given of the extent of the total power rapidly accumulating against our enemies.

“The facts here stated are not put forth in any spirit of boastfulness. Such a spirit is foreign to the grave position of responsibility with which we are faced.


“It should be remembered that the question which had to be met when we entered the war was this: Could we spend the time which was necessary to lay the foundations for a vast output of men and materials sufficiently deep to insure the greatest and increasing results? It was decided that half measures would lead to half results and it was for this reason that we took the time necessary to lay our foundations broad and deep. That weary period of preparation is now making possible a production on a scale of the greatest magnitude, growing rapidly as our native ability for fabricating large mechanical operations get into action and our plans each day are perfected.


“The War Department has enlisted 4,347,000 men. We now have 1,347,000 American soldiers serving with our Allies over seas, either in the battle line or in active work behind the lines. These men have been carefully trained in open as well as trench warfare. They are fully equipped with what we believe to be the best rifle and the best machine gun in the world. We are manufacturing war materials of every kind on a scale ample to keep these men continuously supplied in the highest state of efficiency. In this field of making arms and ammunition we are able to supplement and support the splendid efforts of our Allies by manufacturing for them every kind of weapon in large quantities in addition to supplying our own needs.

“Our troops have been transported over seas chiefly by English ships but our own ships and the ships which we have seized from the Germans who tried unsuccessfully to wreck them in our harbors have done their part.

“That the German submarine campaign has utterly failed to prevent the transportation of American troops is shown by the fact that we have lost less than one soldier in 10,000. From March 21st, when the Germans started their latest drive, up to August we sent to France as reinforcements to our Allies, more than 1,142,342 men. Including soldiers, Red Cross, Y.M/C.A. workers and others on deeds of mercy our total loss was 432, or less than half of the number of Americans murdered by the sinking of the Lusitania.

“This army, with equipment and food in hand at the front sufficient for at least three months, is merely a beginning. In response to our first draft law 10,000,000 men promptly registered. We are, I expect, soon to include in the draft all men from 18 to 45 and this new regulation will put many millions more on our registration lists. It is quite apparent, therefore, that there is no lack for American troops we can send to France.

“Our American engineers have built decks and landing places in France of the most efficient sort; they have constructed 575 miles of heavy railroad with a complete equipment of locomotives, cars, telegraph lines, telephones, etc. Our own railroads in this country have gathered our forces together and transported them to the several seaboards with wonderful rapidity and precision but what is of supreme importance is that we are now assured that this great tide of fighting men shall go on to their places in the battlefields without a break until this war is won.


“Our Navy began operations more quickly than the Army because it was better prepared. Its man power has increased from April 1917 to the present date from to . We can now build more destroyers in a year than existed before the war and we shall turn them out at the rate of a month as long as there shall be need. We are building the Eagle boats, which are particularly efficient in fighting submarines at an average of per month. As all the world knows the destroyer and kindred light surface craft now absolutely have the submarine at their mercy. With our Allies, who have helped us to become skilful in the art of destroying submarines, we have captured or sunk 150# submarines [Note at bottom of page--# Lloyd George]. The weakening power of the submarine is further shown by the rapidly decreasing sinkings of merchant ships. Thus, in April, 1917, which was the month when the German submarine campaign accomplished its greatest results 843,247 tons were sunk. At the present time these sinkings amount to tons a month and this number is constantly decreasing. (Secretary Daniels promised to supply new and telling information for this paragraph; hope he will give us number of submarines destroyed.)


“We have spent a long period in preparing the airplane programs and this preparation is now yielding the expected results. We are training thousands of aviators in this country and we have established and are building landing fields in France to make it possible to use a large number of preparing hangars, and mechanical departments. Without these new fields built with great labor in addition to those fully used by our Allies a great number of aeroplanes could not be operated. We are now turning out all types of machines by the thousands. We have designed and built the Liberty motor now fabricated because of standardized parts at the rate of 1200 per month. After a complete trial, this new motor has been accepted as completely successful for all its purposes. We are constructing bombing planes at the rate which will soon make its influence felt in decisive form on the Western Front.


We are achieving our great building power in ships due to what seemed a very long preparation. We put into the water in July over 600,000 tons, which is more than double the Tonnage we could build in a year before the war. This is a beginning only. With our new shipyards the heads of our Shipping Board now guarantees that in the next year by increase in production we shall launch more than 2,000 ships aggregating more than 11,000,000 tons. This is twice the tonnage of the whole German marine in its more prosperous days.


“Let me sum up the vital matter of financing these great operations. Here again we see the spirit of the volunteer. We have lent our Allies nearly $7,000,000,000 at low rates of interest. We have oversubscribed every one of our Liberty Loans, and what is more significant our people have willingly laid upon themselves taxes so heavy that much of the expense of this war will be paid as we fight it and not left as a burden on our children to hold back the development of our country in the years to come. We have already made our plans to spend great sums next year for military and naval purposes. Our gold supply of nearly two thousand millions is unsurpassed in history. We have learned to save, and to conserve our power and we have kept our finances sound.


“It is pleasant to turn from such grim facts to the story of the American Red Cross. Not only have our men and woman enlisted by the thousands to carry on the work in France and many other foreign countries as directors, doctors, nurses, etc., but some millions of women are engaged in preparing hospital supplies and comforts which are used as freely for the enemy wounded as for our own. This organization, which numbers some 20,000,000 members, has been supported by the gifts of our people from every walk in life, who generously contributed to the two Red Cross War Funds a sum which exceeds $300,000,000 in less than a year. I need make no more than a passing reference to other humanitarian organizations such as the Y.M.C.A., the Knights of Columbus, and the Salvation Army. We have learned to spend wisely and give generously.


“All these war activities would be ineffective should our food supply be inadequate to help keep our allies adequately fed and do this great part worthily. Here again the situation is most encouraging. We have vastly increased our supply by growing and saving. The Department of Agriculture has secured greater efficiency on the largest farms as well as in the smallest gardens. I may show how vast this contribution is on the production side is by a single detail: Six years ago the land set aside for the forestry preserves supported 1,200,000 cattles. To-day on these same lands are more than 11,000,000 cattle. Our farmers have increased to an extraordinary degree the supply of pork, that we may have the most abundant stock of fat of every kind not only for our own use but for the use of our own and our Allied armies, as well as for the civilian population of all the countries with which we are associated in this war.

“Our Food Conservation Board has organized all our people to save. The housewife of the humblest home is doing her part. The number of ‘War Gardens’ has increased to about 6,000,000 this year. Here again I must lay emphasis on the purely voluntary nature of our efforts. As an instance of willing co-operation, the great State of Texas shipped away all its wheat and put an embargo on the import of any of this grain. We have not had to make a systematic attempt to ration the country; the bread cards and other means of conserving food are unknown to us. Yet more than 12,000,000 families in the United States have willingly signed pledges to observe the rules of the Food Administration and this fact alone explains the great savings we have made.

We have now begun to gather one of the greatest harvests, if not the very greatest, in our history. From this we can set aside a reserve for possible future contingencies in the United States and still have plenty to provide for the needs of our Allies to maintain themselves and their armies in strong physical condition.

“Despite the great efforts and self sacrifice which the American people are making there are no signs of suffering or deprivations in our country. The loss of life has and will be heavy but the people have paid the tax of blood and treasure with fine spirit, worthy we hope of that same spirit shown by our brother fighters of other nations. In the whole 140 years of our national history we have never been so united as a people and never so unanimously devoted to that great cause which is dearest to Americans, to help the nations who have suffered most and up to the present, borne the greatest burdens of the fighting in their determination to complete the task of freeing the whole world from a threatened military autocracy.

Original Format






Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United States, “What the United States is Doing to Win the War,” No date, WWP25114, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.