THE

BRIDGE TO FRANCE

BY

EDWARD N. HURLEY

WARTIME CHAIRMAN OF
THE UNITED STATES SHIPPING BOARD
AUTHOR OF "THE NEW MERCHANT MARINE," "THE AWAKENING OF BUSINESS,"
"BANKING AND CREDITS IN ARGENTINE, BRAZIL, CHILE AND PERU," ETC.

26 ILLUSTRATIONS

PHILADELPHIA & LONDON
J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

1927


Fig. 1.
The War Shipping Board

DEDICATED TO
MY ASSOCIATES
IN THE WORLD WAR

.

FOREWORD

GERMANY never would have begun her ruthless submarine warfare on February 1, 1917, if the United States had possessed a substantial merchant marine. She knew that even if we had possessed two million well-trained men equipped and ready to embark at the time we declared war, we might have transported them with the help of the British; but our War Department would have refused to send them to France unless the Shipping Board could guarantee sufficient cargo-ships to keep them supplied with food and munitions of war.

During the first three months of Germany's merciless campaign, 470 ocean-going cargo-ships were sunk; and during the entire month of April the losses were 1,250,000 deadweight tons. One hundred and twenty-two ocean-going cargo-ships were sunk the first two weeks in April, after the United States declared war. The rate of the British loss in ocean-going tonnage during those two weeks was equivalent to an average round-voyage loss of 25 per cent.---one out of every four ships leaving the United Kingdom for overseas. In the first half of 1917, one British ship in ten that passed the Straits of Gilbraltar never returned.

Germany was well aware of our lack of ships; and in view of these enormous Allied losses, figured that it would be impossible for us to provide the cargo-ships needed to feed and maintain overseas an army large enough to prevent the execution of her plans to crush her enemies. The Allies, too, recognized our great need of cargo-ships; but they were helpless to give us any tonnage, for they had lost 6,000,000 deadweight tons to December, 1916, and then were losing 650,000 tons a month, making their total losses 8,000,000 deadweight tons for 1917. Hence, their urgent appeal to us for "ships, ships and more ships!" if the war were to be won, was warranted by the acute necessity.

It was under these trying conditions that the United States Shipping Board and the Emergency Fleet Corporation assumed the task of acquiring, building and operating sufficient cargo-ships to maintain an army in France.

The men associated with me in this task were of the type that has made our country a great industrial nation. These men had only one objective---to help win the war. No other group of executives gathered together in such a short time could have accomplished more than they did.

When the United States declared war against Germany we had less than 50,000 shipyard workers. By the end of 1918 we were employing 350,000 and an additional 180,000 were employed in the 553 mills and factories that supplied the engines, boilers, materials, etc. Moreover, during this period we trained 42,000 men to man the ships at sea, which we acquired and built, 14,000 of whom were deck and engineer officers.

A summary of the achievements of the Shipping Board and Emergency Fleet Corporation is contained in the following excerpt from the report of a Select Committee of the House of Representatives appointed after the war to investigate the War Shipping Board:

"Considering the program as a whole, the accomplishments in the number of ships constructed, the tonnage secured and the time within which the ships were completed and delivered, constitute the most remarkable achievement in ship building that the world has ever seen."

I have felt that I should tell the story of the manner in which we provided and operated the oft-referred-to "Bridge of Ships." Therefore, as a business man and not as an author, I present this volume.

EDWARD N. HURLEY
Chicago

.


CONTENTS

FOREWORD

I.
LAUNCHING WOODROW WILSON

II.
APPOINTED CHAIRMAN

III.
PROVIDING A WAR FLEET
       SHIPPING BOARD IS CREATED
       EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION IS CREATED

IV.
THE SHIPPING BOARD AND THE EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION
       THE DENMAN-GOETHALS CONTROVERSY
       THE BOARD RECONSTITUTED
       ASSUMING MY DUTIES ON THE SHIPPING BOARD
       WE COMMANDEER THE SHIPYARDS AND THEIR HULLS

V.
WE SEIZE THE INTERNED GERMAN SHIPS
       HOW WE ACQUIRED ENEMY SHIPS INTERNED IN NEUTRAL PORTS

VI.
SEIZING AMERICAN SHIPS IN SERVICE
       IMPRESSING LAKE STEAMERS INTO OCEAN SERVICE

VII.
THE EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION BEGINS ITS WORK
       WHAT TYPES OF SHIPS SHOULD WE BUILD?
       THE FABRICATED STEEL SHIP-HOW CONCEIVED AND HOW BUILT
       WOOD SHIPS WERE NECESSARY
       COMPOSITE SHIP
       CONCRETE SHIP
       "WAGGING TONGUES"

VIII.
CONCENTRATING THE RESPONSIBILITIES
       SENATE COMMITTEE INVESTIGATES THE SHIPPING BOARD
       PIEZ IS MADE VICE-PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER OF THE EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION
       THE SUBMARINE ALMOST WON
       MAN-POWER AND SHIPPING---THE FIRST TWO DEMANDS

IX.
HOG ISLAND
       LAUNCHING OF THE "Costigan"
       PROTECTING THE SHIPYARDS

X.
OPERATING THE FLEET

XI.
SHIPPING CONTROL COMMITTEE
       FRANKLIN-SHIPPING CONTROL DICTATOR
       THE DIVISION OF PLANNING AND STATISTICS GETS THE FACTS

XII.
TRADING FOOD FOR SHIPS
       JAPAN

XIII.
EXERCISING "RIGHT OF ANGARY" TO SEIZE DUTCH SHIPS

XIV.
"HURLEY, WE MUST GO THE LIMIT"
       WHAT THE GERMANS THOUGHT OF AMERICAN EFFORT.
       IF WAR HAD LASTED UNTIL AUGUST, 1919

XV.
SCHWAB APPOINTED DIRECTOR- GENERAL
       HANDLING FINANCES OF SHIPPING BOARD AND EMERGENCY FLEET CORPORATION
       DECENTRALIZATION OF CONTROL

XVI.
APPEALING TO WORKERS AND THE PUBLIC

XVII.
SUPPLY OF MATERIALS
       THE WAR TRADE BOARD

XVIII.
WILSON AND BAKER AS PACIFISTS
       "WORK OR FIGHT"
       RECRUITING AN ARMY OF SHIPYARD WORKERS
       SHOULD INDUSTRIAL DRAFT BE EXTENDED TO INDUSTRY?
       SHIPYARD VOLUNTEERS

XIX.
HOUSING AND TRANSPORTING SHIPYARD WORKERS

XX.
OUR LABOR TROUBLES
       SHIPBUILDING LABOR ADJUSTMENT BOARD CREATED
       THE GOVERNMENT PAID THE TOLL
         HOW THE DELAWARE STRIKES WERE HANDLED
       CONSEQUENCES OF THE MACY BOARD'S POLICY

XXI.
ALLIED SHIPPING PROBLEMS
       REGULATION BY CHARTERING COMMITTEES
       ALLIED MARITIME TRANSPORT COUNCIL

XXII.
FORCED TO BORROW BRITISH SHIPS

XXIII.
MAKING SEAMEN OUT OF LANDLUBBERS
       HOW SEAMEN BECAME DECK OFFICERS
       OILERS AND TENDERS BECOME ENGINEER OFFICERS
       TRAINING THE SEAMEN WHO MANNED OUR SHIPS

XXIV.
PORT CONGESTION
       NATIONAL ADJUSTMENT COMMISSION

XXV.
PROTECTING SHIPS FROM SUBMARINES
       PROTECTIVE METHODS FINALLY ADOPTED

XXVI.
EDISON, FORD AND OTHERS

XXVII.
CONVOYING SHIPS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
       EXPERIMENTAL CONVOYS
       THE CRUISER AND TRANSPORT FORCES
       ESCORT BASIS ESTABLISHED IN EUROPE
       NAVAL OVERSEAS TRANSPORTATION SERVICE
       ASSEMBLING CONVOYS
       CONVOYS AT SEA
       THE SUBMARINE BEATEN AT LAST
       MEN !

XXVIII.
WAR RISK INSURANCE AT A PROFIT

XXIX.
OUR LEGAL STATUS
       SHIPPING BOARD'S LAW DIVISION
       LEGAL DIVISION OF THE FLEET CORPORATION

XXX.
CANCELLATION OF SHIP CONTRACTS

XXXI.
NORTHCLIFFE'S SUGGESTION TO WILSON; DISCUSSIONS IN EUROPE
       "FREEDOM OF THE SEAS"
       KERENSKY

XXXII.
HOUSE AND HOOVER
       REPATRIATING OUR SOLDIERS
       PRESIDENT WILSON AND FOOD RELIEF FOR GERMANY

XXXIII.
WITH FOCH AND THE GERMANS AT TREVES

XXXIV.
THE SPA AND BRUSSELS CONFERENCES
       AUSTRIAN SHIPS IN SPANISH WATERS
       INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
       AMERICAN BUSINESS PROFITED BY OUR WAR FLEET

XXXV.
SHIPPING IMPORTANCE AT THE PEACE CONFERENCE
       EUROPEAN VIEWS ON OUR MARITIME ASCENDENCY
       THE PEACE CONFERENCE CONVENES
       THE SUPREME ECONOMIC COUNCIL IS FORMED
       GERMANY SURRENDERS HER MERCHANT FLEET

XXXVI.
OUR WISE COUNSELLOR---WOODROW WILSON
   
 APPENDIX A: LETTER FROM BALFOUR, 21 AUG 1917
 APPENDIX B: HURLEY'S RESPONSE TO STATE DEPARTMENT
 APPENDIX C: HURLEY TO WILSON, 23 OCT 1918.
 INDEX OF PROPER NAMES

ILLUSTRATIONS

1.
The War Shipping Board

2.
Red Cross War Council

3.
Fabricated Ship

4.
Great Lakes Steel Ship

5.
Wood Ship

6.
Charles Piez

7.
War Cartoon, " The Bridge to France," by J. N. Darling

8.
Mrs. Wilson Christening the Quistconck

9.
Edward F. Carry

10.
P. A. S. Franklin

11.
The American Peril

12.
Charles M. Schwab

13.
Sir Joseph Maclay

14.
"By-gone Days"

15.
Pavelich, Champion Riveter, and His Crew

16.
War Poster, "The Tidal Wave," by J. C. Coll

17.
Division of Pictorial Publicity, Charles Dana Gibson, Chairman

18.
"The Big Parade," War Poster, by James Montgomery Flagg

19.
International Labor Board

20.
Hurley, Burroughs, Edison, Ford, Firestone, DeLooch

21.
War Poster by Mr. Gerrit A. Beneker

22.
Admiral William Sheppard Benson

23.
Large Type Pacific Coast Steel Ship

24.
Henry M. Robinson

25.
American Commissioners' Letter

26.
The War Cabinet


Chapter One