** An original essay written expressly for Reader's Scope magnificently answers the current wave of falsehood and invective against the American people. Carping critics of labor who seek to disrupt our country's unity will find it hard to answer this eloquent statement by a noted historical novelist.
This Is The Record...
This Is The Work!
IT is time that we looked at the record calmly, with restraint yet with pride; for the record tells the truth, and God knows we have reason enough for pride. The record will stand, and for centuries to come men of good will, looking back at that record, will say:
"Thus did America. When humanity called, America answered."
The record concerns the accomplishments of fifty-five million American men and women who worked with their hands and their heads in the factories, the shipyards, the mines, the offices and on the farms of America. The record tells what they did during the time of this war, and in speaking of these fifty-five million Americans, we will call them productive force. For they are industry and labor, all of industry and all of labor in America, and their record is the record of America. Here is the record:
They gave first of their children, their sons and daughters and their brothers and sisters and husbands; and of these they gave to the cause of America ten million who are in the armed services.
They gave then of their own lives in their work. Theirs was the battle of production, and as they built the planes, the tanks and the guns, death took its toll. They stinted neither of time nor energy, and in the course of this war fifty thousand of them lost their lives in the battle of production.
These are no supermen, but free people of all races and all nationalities; yet in their wildest dreams the herrenvolk could not have matched the deeds of these free people. For American labor and industry did these things:
Built in three years
153,061 airplanes, 746 warships, 1,899 Liberty ships, 702 merchant ships of other types, 23,867 landing craft, 5,000 subsidiary naval vessels, 1,567,940 military trucks...
All? No, only a small part of all, for in those same three years American labor and industry
Armed and equipped more than ten million servicemen; constructed, for these men, in all parts of the world, housing and training facilities, airfields and bases.
Still not all, for in those same three years, American labor and industry
Built nearly twenty billion dollars worth of the best and most modern plant facilities in the world, equipped those plants with the finest machine tools known, and sent forth from those plants an unceasing stream of butadiene, synthetic rubber, 100-octane gasoline, alloy steels, aluminum, magnesium, engines, gears, turbines, valves, bearingsyes, the list is endless. For American labor and industry rolled up its sleeves, and though ten million men were withdrawn from its ranks for the armed services, it contributed forty-five percent more man-days of work in 1943 than in 1939.
And still not all, for in that time, American labor, along with the independent American farmer, took from the good American earth more food than ever before in this nation's history.
And still the record is unfinished, for American labor and industry built and manned the greatest merchant fleet this world has known, sent it forth on submarine-infested seas, and lost six thousand American merchant seamen to the torpedoes and guns and bombs of the enemy.
Let us wind up the record: we spoke before of fifty thousand deaths in industry; we did not speak of the two million, four hundred thousand accident casualties of industry during one year, 1943 we did not speak of the billions of dollars worth of war bonds Americans buy each month; we did not speak of the fact that the fifty-five millions have given more than two million pints of blood to the Red Cross . . .
Yes, there is much that we did not speak of, enough to fill volumes, for the record is the work, the sweat, the blood, and the passionate belief in freedom of fifty-five million American men and women. They are labor and industry. They were the hope of the world in humanity's darkest hour. And they did not fail humanity.
They are the hope of tomorrow; and they will not fail, for their strength is the strength of America and of democracy.
| HOWARD FAST, author of the best selling historical novels, CITIZEN TOM PAINE and FREEDOM ROAD, has become one of America's out standing writers, as the NEW YORK TIMES says, "A bullmoose among a flock of sheep."