B-Revised Version


B-Revised Version


Tumulty, Joseph P. (Joseph Patrick), 1879-1954




No date


Rewrite of the report on what America has been doing to support the war effort.


Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson Papers


Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum


World War, 1914-1918--Statistics


Anna Phillips






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


[B--Revised Version]

In view of America’s many war activities which have necessarily been presented in disconnected form President Wilson was asked by the foreign correspondents in the United States, if he would give a resume of what the United States is doing to help win the war so that friends and neutrals alike might know the sum of this country’s efforts. In response to the request the President made the following statement:

“A knowledge of the energy and resources of America and above all the spirit of the volunteer permeating the nation is necessary in order to understand how the efforts of our Allies are being added to, and what is the extent of the total power rapidly accumulating against our enemies. The responsibility upon us discountenances over-confidence and removes us far from any spirit of boasting but it is well that we should look facts in the face at all times, good as well as bad, and a survey of the situation in America at the moment should be of service to all who have their eyes on the great conflict.

“The question before us when we entered the war was this; could we spend the time necessary to lay the foundation for a vast output of men and materials sufficiently deep to ensure in the long run decisive consequences. The conclusion was reached that half measures would lead to half results, and thus it was that we decided to take the time necessary to make our preparations so comprehensive and far reaching that our objects would be inevitably attained.. The period of preparation is now approaching the summit and has already made possible production of magnitude. Tremendous as is the scale already it is growing rapidly from week to week. The entire might of America is well on the way to being organized for effective assertion in the war.

On April 6, 1917, the United States was brought face to face with the problem of shifting its man power from works of peace to those of war, and of waging this war three thousand miles from its base, those three thousand miles being a water area infested with submarines. Civilization made requisition upon the United States for food, munitions and men. To avoid drawing on the already overtaxed resources of our new allies, the plans called for furnishing our overseas forces with all food, supplies, equipment and munitions from the United States. This mandatory decision complicated the problem of production, storage, port facilities at home, overseas transportation, terminals, and inland transportation in France. That is why American Engineers have built great terminals and plants and more than five hundred miles of heavy railroad.

America’s achievement in sixteen months may be judged from the following results: The Army has been increased from approximately one hundred thousand to over three million - one million three hundred thousand of whom are actually overseas; our port terminal facilities in the United States have been increased by 33,800,000 square feet of storage space at a cost of $218,000,000.. Through these storage and port facilities our stream of supplies is now pouring. Already over 3,500,000 tons of freight have been shipped, including 800 100-ton locomotives and 10,500 freight cars. War materials are now being provided in quantities to equip our own growing forces and also to meet the increasing demands of our allies. The magnitude of the task in indicated in part by the fact that it has involved the placing by the Ordnance Department of over 19,000 contracts with 3.300 separate firms; the purchase and actual delivery within the United States of 80,000 motor vehicles, and 374,000,000 articles of clothing.

In carrying out our aeroplane program, the period of preparation is past and quantity production and its consequent results may now be looked for. We are training thousands of airmen in this country and have established and are building landing fields in France separate and distinct from those operated by our allies. We have designed and built the Liberty Motor which, demonstrated as completely successful for all its purposes, is now, because of its standardized parts, being turned out at a satisfactory rate. Our output of service planes per month is now making its influence felt on the Western front.

The development of our man power and material resources has led to more direct governmental control of many of our major industries, including our telephone, telegraph and railroad systems. The very recent passage of the Selective Service Act, which requires all males between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, inclusive, to register, and which makes them subject to calls for military service, supplies and abundant reservoir from which to draw as the needs of the military situation dictate, and insures our placing at the front, together with our allies, such a force as will bring about a decisive result.

Our navy began operations immediately after war was declared and our forces in European waters now include more than two-hundred and fifty vessels and nearly forty-five thousand officers and men. The total personnel of the navy has increased from eighty-two thousand to five hundred and forty thousand including marines and reserves. The Marine Corps has grown from less than fourteen thousand to more than sixty thousand. Eighteen hundred vessels of all classes have been added to the navy and there are more than five times as many ships in service as before the war. In addition to battleships and cruisers we are building some seven hundred smaller craft. We are constructing more destroyers than any two navies possessed when the war began and we shall continue to produce them as long as the need exists: Germany persists in sinking neutral and belligerent ships without warning but the constant reduction in sinkings, and the utter failure to stop the flow of troops, food and munitions to Europe prove that ruthless submarine warfare has not achieved its purpose. The transportation of upward of a million and a half troops to Europe with the loss of fewer than three hundred lives is an achievement which has no parallel. The allied navies have worked together as one. In transporting troops convoying vessels patroling war areas and combatting the submarine there has been the closest cooperation. The British, French and Italian navies have given us the benefit of their experience and equipment and we have gladly served with them and given them every assistance in our power. The growth of the American navy in ships and men means a constantly increasing addition to the strength of the Allies. During the past year and up to August 24, there had been launched from American shipyards under the control of the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, a total of 535 sea-going vessels with an aggregate tonnage of 2,923,973 deadweight tons. This is far more than American shipyards had built in the previous four years. In one month alone -- July of this year -- we launched more than twice as much ocean going tonnage as we built in any pre-war year.

At the time of organization of the present shipping board in July 1917 there was not a shipyard where the board could place an order, and consequently it was necessary to build yards for ships. At the start the output of vessels was necessarily slow. The rate of progress is sufficiently indicated by the launching each month during the year nineteen eighteen. These are the figures to date.
Month Deadweight tons
January . . . . . . . . . 112,500
February . . . . . . . . 171,850
March . . . . . . . . . . 258,916
April . . . . . . . . . . . 225,230
May . . . . . . . . . . . 365,255
June . . . . . . . . . . 233,550
July . . . . . . . . . . 634,411
TOTAL . . . 2,001,712

At the time of our entrance into the war there were only 37 steel shipyards in America and probably less than 50,000 men were employed in them. Today we have 171 shipyards, of which 76 are steel, 86 wood, 7 concrete and 2 composite. We have today under contract and construction 946 shipbuilding ways including wood, steel and concrete, which is twice as many shipbuilding ways as there are in all the rest of the shipyards of the world combined. And instead of a half hundred thousand of shipworkers we now have 382,888, with another 250,000 in training.

Up to the present, 281 ships having a total tonnage of 1,725,731 have been completed and put in service.

The contract program calls for the construction of 2,249 passenger, cargo, refrigerators and tankers, ranging from 3,500 to 12,000 tons each, with an aggregate deadweight tonnage of 13,212,712. We have contracted for 42 concrete ships, deadweight tonnage 301,500; 170 wooden barges; 279 steel, wood and concrete tugs of 1,000 horse power for ocean and harbor service; 100 trawlers, and 25 harbor oil barges of a deadweight tonnage of 50,000.

Exclusive of this, the program of the Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation covers 402 commandeered ships of a deadweight tonnage of 2,790,792, taken over from foreign and domestic owners.

In the vital matter of financing the war operations we again see the splendid spirit of the volunteer. Our people have not failed to meet any request that the Government has made for financial assistance. All three Liberty Loans which have been floated since this country entered the war have been oversubscribed - over four million persons subscribed to the first loan, which was for two billion dollars, and there was an oversubscription of $1,035,226,850. In the second loan a total of 9,400,000 persons oversubscribed $1,617,532,300, the amount of the loan being for three billion dollars, and of this oversubscription $808,766,150 was accepted. Three billion dollars was sought in the third loan, and eighteen million subscribers oversubscribed this amount by $1,176,516,850. This entire amount was accepted.

Almost seven billion dollars of the money raised by the Liberty Loan subscriptions has been loaned to the Allies at low rates of interest. In addition to oversubscribing all of the Liberty Loans, the people have willingly paid the heaviest taxes ever imposed upon them in the history of the nation. In order to meet the expenses of the coming year of the war, plans are being made in Congress for greatly increasing the present taxes and there is every indication they will be paid with the same cheerfulness that other war taxes have been paid in the past. Plans have been completed for the expenditure of vast sums for military and naval purposes during the coming year. Our gold supply of over three billion dollars is unsurpassed in the history of the country. We have learned to save and to conserve our power and we have kept our financing sound.

The story of the American Red Cross again instances the will and capacity of the American people for voluntary effort. Not only have our men and women enlisted by the thousands to carry on the work in France and many other foreign countries as Directors, Doctors, and Nurses, but millions of women are engaged in preparing hospital supplies and comforts for our boys in service.

The extensive development of Canteens, Convalescent Houses and Home Service in this country, together with the activities abroad means that during the entire time our men are serving with the colors, some branch of the Red Cross stands at their side to lend them and their families aid and comfort.

This organization which before the war numbered 200,000 members, now has some 20,000,000 members who, in one month, have produced more than 39,000,000 articles for the use of the military and civilian population of our country and of our allies, and has received in less than a year for its support through the generous response of the country-at-large a sum exceeding $300,000,000.

All our war activities would be ineffective if our production of food should be insufficient to supply our needs and to furnish a large surplus for the peoples with whom we are fighting. During 1917 the nation increased its production of essential farm products and effected large savings through conservation. The extent of the contribution of the farmers of the United States can only be suggested. In 1917, in spite of adverse labor and weather conditions, they planted the largest acreage in the Nation’s history -- 32,000,000 more than the average for the five years preceding the European War-- and increased the leading food crops by a billion bushels over the average production for the same five-year period. They also added materially to the number of certain classes of live stock. This year they equaled the record of 1917 in the matter of acreage planted. The acreage of the leading cereals harvested, however, will exceed last year’s. We do not know what the aggregate harvest will be, but certain crops seem to be assured and the yields can be approximately indicated. The last crop report estimated that the yield of wheat would be 878 million bushels as against 651 million in 1917. This would make possible the satisfaction of this Nation’s need for wheat and permit the exportation of a considerable surplus. The output of rye will be nearly double that of peace times and that of barley will be increased by twenty-five million bushels over the record year. The indications also are that the number of live stock, especially hogs, tends to increase and that the Nation is assured of a satisfactory stock of fats. Farmers throughout the country have patriotically labored to bring about these results and the Department of Agriculture, the agricultural colleges and farm organizations have rendered effective assistance in many directions. There is no question that they will make every effort to equal or better this record during the coming year.

The Food Administration has devoted itself on one hand to the stimulation of production, the saving of consumption, and on the other hand to the aggregation and distribution of supplies in such a manner as to contribute most directly to the needs of civil populations and armies united against Germany.

Under financial assurances given by the Food Administration herds of swine have increased and the acreage planted in grain has been extended.

Twelve million families and all public eating places have willingly signed pledges to voluntarily observe the recommendations of the Food Administration in food conservation. The result of these measures has been that the necessary balances of food have been greatly increased and have been maintained to the level of Allied needs without the necessity of compulsory rationing in the United States.

Original Format






Tumulty, Joseph P. (Joseph Patrick), 1879-1954, “B-Revised Version,” No date, WWP25142, World War I Letters, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.