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northern France, told from German soldiers' own statements and confessions, and of the wholesale deportation of young women and girls from those countries into Germany, to be enslaved for the vilest uses, and all this done not in the hot passion of battle but by the deliberate, cold, calculated order of the most exalted dignitaries of the Imperial Government–this forms a chapter in history beside which Cawnpore seems clean and Sioux and Apache massacres seem merciful.
Promptly at the outbreak of the war in Europe the women of America organized themselves in vast numbers for two major purposes. One was for the relief of the war sufferers in European lands. The appeal to them to do this was especially strong for the reason already suggested
-the unprecedented extent to which women and children were made to be direct sufferers from and victims of the war. The greater part of the relief work which was done by this country on so large a scale was due to the energy and devotion of women; in the Red Cross and in many special organizations.
WOMEN AND PREPAREDNESS The other great purpose which animated the women of America, even before this country became involved in the war, was that of promoting our national preparedness. The nauseous doggerel of a one-time "popular” song, “I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier," was righteously resented by the women of America, who had no thought of suckling cowards, and in innumerable multitudes they thronged forward into patriotic organizations intended to urge universal military training and service and to provide the essential adjuncts thereto which women can best cupply.
WOMEN IN INDUSTRY Great Britain and other European countries had set the example of women's engaging in agricultural and other industries, to take the places of men who had gone to fight. In the cities women were successfully employed as elevator operators, street car conductors, and in many other occupations, beside places in munition works and other factories in which men had formerly been employed. In the country women successfully practiced gardening and agriculture
In the United States women have begun to prepare themselves for such tasks, if it should be necessary for them to undertake them. Particularly have they undertaken farm and garden work, for of that there is actual, imperative and widespread need. At the time of the declaration of war it was realized that the country was on the verge of something almost approximating famine. Scanty crops here, and unprecedented demands for food supplies abroad, caused us to be confronted with a condition which demanded that in 1917 every available acre and square rod of ground should be made to produce the largest possible crop.
THE INCREASE IN FOOD EXPORTS The enormous increase in exports of foodstuffs of various kinds, and the consequent depletion of our domestic reserve, may be realized from a review of data given by the Department of Commerce at Washington:
1914 Exports. 1916 Exports. Increase. Bacon (lbs.)................ 193,964,252 579,808,786 385,844,534 Barley (bu.). .......
6,644,747 27,473,160 20,828,413 Beans and dried peas (bu.)..
1,760,3831,445,728 Beef, canned (lbs.).
3,464,733 50,416,690 46,951,957 Beef, fresh (lbs.)......
6,394,404 231,215,075 224,820,671 Buckwheat (bu.).
580 515,304 514,724 Butter (lbs.).......
3,693,597 13,503,279 9,809,682
1914 Exports. 1916 Exports. Increase. Cheese (lbs.)....
2,427,577 44,394,251 41,966,674 Corn (bu.)..........
9,380,855 38,217,012 28,836,157 Cornmeal (bbl.).
336,241 419,979 83,738 Cottonseed meal (lbs.)... 799,974,252 1,057,921,569 257,947,317 Cottonseed oil (lbs.). ....... 192,963,079 266,529,960 73,566,881 Eggs (doz.)................ 16,148,849 26,396,206 10,247,357 Hams and shoulders (lbs.)... 165,881,791 282,208,611 116,326,820 Milk, condensed (lbs.)...... 16,209,082 155,734,322 139,525,240 Mutton (lbs.).......
4,685,496 5,552,918 867,422 Oatmeal (lbs.).......
15,998,286 54,748,747 38,750,461 Oats (bu.)........... 1,859,949 95,921,620 94,061,671 Peaches, dried (lbs.)..... 6,712,296 13,739,342 7,020,046 Pork, canned (lbs.). ........ 3,074,303 9,610,732 6,536,429 Pork, fresh (lbs.)............ 2,668,020 63,005,524 60,337,504 Potatoes, extra sweet (bu.).. 1,794,073 4,017,760 2,223,687 Raisins (lbs.)............... 14,766,416 75,014,753 60,248,337 Rice (lbs.)......
18,223,264 120,695,213 102,471,949 Rye (bu.).................. 2,222,934 14,532,437 12,309,503 Salmon, canned (lbs.).. 87,750,920 152,951,962 65,201,042 Sugar, refined (lbs.)...... 50,895,726 1,630,150,863 1,579,255,137 Wheat (bu.). .......... 92,303,775 173,374,015 80,880,240 Wheat flour (bbl.)...... 11,821,461 15,520,669 3 ,699,208
SHORTAGE IN 1916 Now the fact that we were able to increase our exports so enormously did not mean that we had correspondingly increased our production. It meant that there were exceptionally large harvests in 1914 which left a great surplus on our hands, which we were able to send abroad in 1916. The fact is that in 1916, because of bad weather and other causes, our production was much decreased from the average of the preceding years, so that our surplus stocks were depleted, and the nation was confronted with potential scarcity of the severest kind. Here are the official figures showing the decrease in 1916:
Average Production Production
Shortage. 88,339,000 149,216,000 .........
5,281,000 ......... 5,182,000
9,815,000 .. 17,604,000 1,004,000
There was also a marked decrease in the quantity of food supplies in cold storage warehouses throughout the United States, as these figures show:'
1917. Cheese, American (lbs.). ........ 9,499,466 Eggs, cases (30 doz.)........ ... 4,759 Lard (lbs.).................... 76,389,599 Lamb and mutton (lbs.) ....... 4,007,465 Frozen pork (lbs.).... ......... 55,926,367
PROPOSALS FOR RELIEF This undoubtedly serious state of affairs called for prompt action for relief, and various plans were proposed. Some urged an embargo on foodstuffs, but they were chiefly German sympathizers or Germans themselves in disguise. It was obvious that such a procedure would mean ruin to the Allies and the triumph of Germany; and that was not to be thought of, at any rate after we had ourselves entered the war as the opponent of Germany and as an ally of the Allies.
Others suggested government seizure, control and distribution of all supplies of food; but that was obviously
an extreme measure which should be resorted to only in case of the most dire necessity.
The two measures which were most obvious, most natural, and most desirable, and which, indeed, gave greatest promise of being effective, were these: that we should economically conserve our existing supplies and that we should seek to increase our products to the greatest possible degree; and these were measures in which the active co-operation of women was indispensable.
THE CONSERVATION OF FOOD The Secretary of Agriculture was recently quoted as saying that American families had been wasting $700,000,000 worth of food in their kitchens every year. Thoughtful observers and investigators were inclined to think that he underestimated rather than overestimated the amount. The complaint was not that Americans ate too much, or too good, food, but that they wasted too much. They had wasteful methods of purchasing, of cooking, and of serving, and they threw too much of the perfectly good surplus from their meals into the garbage cans instead of utilizing it for subsequent meals. It was a phase of our characteristic and proverbial American profligacy-the same profligacy in resources which caused more first-class lumber to be destroyed in the cutting and by forest fires than was sent to market.
This was obviously an evil to be corrected chiefly by the women, who were the housekeepers and cooks, and who could therefore check such waste. How readily a reform in that respect could be effected was strikingly shown in New York City, where in the week following an appeal by the Mayor for greater carefulness in the use of food, there was a very large percentage of reduction of the number