Page 3737

3737 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

and February, the country suffered

from excessive cold, a cold so great that

not only was more fuel required but the

actual mining of coal and the transportation of coal were greatly impeded. At

times some of the northern railroads

were virtually unable to transport freight

owing to damage done to their engines

by the freezing weather. Furthermore,

many of the engines and cars had long

been in need of repair; under the strain

they now broke down. All over the land

it was difficult for people to obtain the

fuel necessary to keep them warm, and

all sorts of makeshifts were resorted to.

In country districts where forests still

remained, more wood was burned than

in any winter for many years.

Toward the middle of January, the

situation became so serious that drastic

measures had to be resorted to. In

many places the people were in actual

danger of freezing, while in New York

harbor two score ships were unable to

sail for France with needed food and

munitions of war because of lack of coal.

Fuel Administrator Garfield, with the

approval of President Wilson, ordered

a general shutdown of industry throughout

the United States east of the Mississippi for

five successive days, and the limitation

of the working week to five days. during

the nine weeks following. This order

caused much criticism and resulted in the

loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to

manufacturers and other business men, but

bore hardest, of course, upon the working

class, several millions of whom were rendered temporarily idle. Some exceptions

were made for industries engaged in war

work. The five days passed, and, for

several Mondays following, the "heatless"

order was carried out, but the order was

suspended before nine weeks had elapsed.

By this shutting down of industry much

fuel was saved, and the coming of milder

weather also helped to relieve the situation.

Dr. Garfield and the administration were

bitterly criticized for the step, but it is

difficult' to see how some such measure

could have been avoided. The real blame

rested upon the shoulders of those who

were responsible for delaying the adjustment of the coal situation in the preceding

summer. In this, as in many other matters,

the Government displayed lack of foresight and became involved in difficulties

because of failure to do needed acts in time.

The work of mobilizing the resources

of the country was one of the most tremendous that had ever faced any nation.

It would have been difficult enough under

the most favorable circumstances. It was

rendered doubly difficult by reason of

the fact that although the country for

two years had been facing war, comparatively little of a practical nature had

been done by way of preparation. In

consequence, nearly everything had to

be improvised at a time when haste was

necessary in order to get American troops

in the field in time to play their part.

Even plans were lacking, and precious

time had to be used in formulating them.

Nor were the men upon whom this task

fell always those best fitted for the work.

Not only were aeroplanes, motor trucks,

artillery, tanks, and other paraphernalia

lacking, but the authorities responsible

had not decided upon the types to manufacture.

Congress appropriated money in sums

undreamed of. The country displayed

a commendable eagerness to help in the

great work, and thousands of business

men gave up their private enterprises

and offered their services free of charge,

but in the War Department, especially,

a state of chaos developed, due in large

measure to failure to take time by the

forelock. Conditions in that department

reached such a state before the end of

1917 that in the middle of December

the Senate Committee on Military Affairs

began an investigation into the alleged

shortcomings of the department. The

investigation revealed many instances of

mismanagement such as failure to provide uniforms, blankets, adequate hospital facilities, and arms. The leadership

in this investigation was taken by Senator

Chamberlain of Oregon, a member of the

President's own party. The investigation

received the support of many of the