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Speech to the Chamber of Commerce of the United States1
April 29, 1941 Washington, D.C.
. . . I now reach the point of talking about your business as it relates to my business. Preparations today for any military effort for defense involve not only men and the proverbial rifle that is hung over the fireplace—but they involve materiel on a vast scale, of which you have heard a great deal; it is a war of smoke-stacks as well as of men. We need every possible assistance from industry; we need the most expeditious and most completely coordinated assistance that you can give us. We need a symmetrical development, and that means that every sub-contractor, as well as every general contractor or manufacturer and industrialist, must contribute in the same measure of effort and on the same ratio as to time.
You can have a very large instrument, a very impressive instrument, and have it wholly ineffective because it lacks an essential part, and that essential part is often a very small piece of the whole, but it is absolutely necessary to the operation of the main instrument. So this must be a symmetrical development.
I sometimes think that we have an unfortunate habit in the Army of talking about a balanced force. That terminology is not stimulating to thought and people do not understand exactly what we mean. However, in referring to materiel and its relation to industry, we do have great need of a balanced production—which is equivalent to a balanced force in terms of war.
We are in need of all the effort you can manage; the more you do, and the more effectively it is done, the stronger will be our position.
We are also in need, from you ladies and gentlemen, of your influence with the people back home to win their appreciation of what our soldiers are doing in the camps. There is nothing glamorous about training in the mud; there will be nothing glamorous about the long marches in the heat and dust and the difficulties and the hardships that will be involved in the tremendous maneuvers that we will conduct next summer. These young soldiers will do almost anything. I think they will do anything, if their efforts are appreciated, and their efforts can only be appreciated if the people at home understand the situation. I am not talking just about the man’s family—I am talking about the general public. I feel sometimes that we are diverted from the main issue by so much of statistics about this or that, so much of argument about this delay or that delay, this opinion or that opinion. We have a great Army in the making; it is coming into its own; it needs things, but it needs more than anything else the understanding and appreciative support from every side and on every hand in this country.
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, Speeches, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed draft.
1. Marshall addressed the twenty-ninth annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. In the bulk of his address, he discussed the importance of the maneuvers and the creation of corps and field armies—the essential organizations of the army team in war. The last 30 percent of the address is printed here.
Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr. (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 489-490.