Page:The War and the Future (Masefield, 1918).djvu/24

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The War and the Future

mules, build its cars and wagons and travelling kitchens. We had to make its uniforms and straps, blankets, boots and knapsacks; and, worst of all, we had to make its weapons.

We had the plant for making (I suppose) 50 big guns and 500 machine guns and 50,000 rifles in the year, with proportionate ammunition. Suddenly we wanted 50,000 big guns, and 500,000 machine guns and 10,000,000 rifles with unlimited ammunition, more ammunition than men could dream of, with all sorts of new kinds of ammunition, bombs, handgrenades, aerial torpedoes, or flying pigs, flying pineapples, egg-bombs, hairbrush-bombs, Mills bombs, trench mortar bombs, such as men had never used. And those things were wanted in a desperate hurry and we had the plant for not one-fiftieth part of them, nor the workmen to use the plant when made, nor the workmen to make the plant.

It is said that it takes one year to make the plant for the making of the modern big gun, and to train the workmen to make the countless delicate machines with which men kill each other in modern war. That was the proposition we were up against, and meanwhile, just across the water, well within earshot of our eastern coun-