THE UNFINISHED TASK
AN ADDRESS BY RALPH W. CARNEY.
Chairman: The President, Mr. C. R. Conquergood
Thursday, April 19, 1945
MR. CONQUERGOOD: The Empire Club is privileged today to have as its guest speaker; Mr. Ralph Carney, who is with us for the third time.
His first visit was in May of 1943 when he spoke to us on "The Strength and Threat of Japan", and concluded with an incomparable tribute to the British Empire. That message is still fresh in our minds. In the following November, he addressed us on "A Business Man Speaks Up". On the present visit to Canada, as on the last, he will devote a generous share of his time and talent to assist in the campaign for the coming Victory Loan which opens next week.
Mr. Ralph W. Carney hails from Wichita, Kansas, where he is Vice-President in charge of sales of the Coleman Lamp and Stove Co. He comes to us through the courtesy of the Coleman Lamp and Stove Co. of Canada. He is a business man who is patriotically devoting more of his time to the promotion of the war effort and the interests of the country at large, than he is to the furtherance of the direct affairs of his firm.
I have much pleasure in welcoming him back to The Empire Club and requesting that he now address us on "The Unfinished Task".
MR. CARNEY: If it seems strange to any of you, that an American stands here instead of one of your own, people, please do not wonder at it. It is not that your Finance Committee could not have found many more appealing and eloquent voices and men of far greater stature, in every way, in your own beloved Dominion, than the American business man who stands before you now.
It is not that you needed me for anything I might say. It is rather that you have given to me the honor and privilege of helping in this Campaign. I am the beneficiary of your kindness and indulgence.
The reason for it, therefore, more than any need for my services, is merely that it exemplifies this union of English-speaking peoples, the community of interests, and the singleness of purpose of the American people, Canadians, and of the entire Empire.
In this gigantic enterprise to which we have each set our hand and pledged our fidelity, from that moment when the Empire held its breath and Mr. Churchill's "blood, and sweat, and tears"-words which will live forever in the minds of free men-revitalized a stricken Britain; to Pearl Harbor Day; through all of the tremendous effort with men and materials that my country has made and, to this very moment, there has been no division of interests, no separate selfishness.
I therefore stand here merely as a symbol of the unity of two great allies.
In November of 1943, I was here helping on your Fifth Victory Loan. At that time, when Germany was still strong and long before the invasion of Europe; in fact, when the success of that invasion was still clouded with doubt and uncertainty; when Americans were deluding themselves with unjustified optimism because we were sinking a few Japanese ships and knocking some of their planes out of the sky; in fact, at a time when the United States had merely stopped losing the war with Japan, and when your interests were centered in Europe because it was the Nazi Army and Idea that had constituted the greatest threat to your homeland, I was calling attention then to the strength of the Japanese Empire and the tremendous problems, in terms of supply, and distances, and time, and of cost of defeating an even greater enemy to civilization than Germany, many people thought that I was unduly pessimistic.
Even a well-informed representative of the Chinese Government took sharp issue with my belief that the war with Japan would last not less, and probably more than five years. In the columns of an Ottawa paper, this noted Chinese said that China was growing in strength, would be able to defend herself and, as I remember it, that the war with Japan would be over and ended before 1945.
Today, you see China cut in two and infinitely weaker; the Chinese divided among themselves and millions of their people starving. We have lost most of our air bases in China and have, in fact, been driven back almost to Chungking. Any idea we might have had that we could use Chinese manpower and merely supply them with weapons, now seems a forlorn hope.
When I was with you before, I said that it would very likely be the sum total of eight years of war for you, from the beginning it Germany, to the defeat of Japan.
Well, the man who says, "I told you so", is usually not very well liked, but I am going to risk that in order to give strength to what I want to say and so that you may not disbelieve me twice. The fact is, that you are in your sixth year of war and this coming fall will begin your seventh year and the beginning of the fifth year for the United States. And, this time, if we have ever been justified in the feeling that the struggle in Europe is coming to an end, we can think that now, and believe together, that the beginning of your seventh year of war and the beginning of the fifth year for the United States, will see Germany completely defeated-but we will not see Japan defeated.
It is not forgotten that Malaya and Singapore are British! The crime of Hong Kong must not go unpunished! The safety of India is just as important to you and to the Empire as Hawaii and the Philippines are to the United States!
The independence and freedom of China is our common problem and not-altogether an altruistic one, but a realistic one, having to do with the safety of our future generations because, if Japan were permitted to thoroughly establish herself in China and hold what she now has there, with manpower resources and materials there available, would give her such strength that we might not defeat her in another war; at least, we can not afford another competition in blood-letting, against an enemy that seems not to care how much of its own blood it spills.
Certainly, another war would be thrust upon us and we would be committing the same grave error in the Pacific as we did 25 years ago in Europe, in letting the
Armistice bring that war to an end, with the German Army and the German weapon-producing capacities still intact. Mistakes like that must not be repeated.
My great fear has been that this "V-Day"-the upraised signal of which your own Winston Churchill has made so famous--that day, to which we have looked forward with eagerness and in tears, and in prayer, will be perhaps the most dangerous day of this war for both of our countries. And you ask how that can be?
You know as well as I do, what will happen when the German Army surrenders. The headlines of the newspapers will say, "THE WAR IS OVER!" Those of you who have felt that Germany was your "No. 1" enemy, will feel that the war is over. Many of your relatives and friends in the Old Country, in the British Isles, who have lived only a few miles separated from the enemy and, under the horror of German air raids, and, who have felt, naturally close to and suffering from the Nazi enemy and, at the same time, quite remote from the Japanese enemy, will also feel that the war is over.
Ticker tape and confetti will fly through the air. Great uncontrolled celebrations will be held. War production will come to a stop. Liquor will flow and there will be millions of "hang-overs" the next day. We'll be happy. Many will be hysterical, because Hitler and his Gang have been destroyed; because a strong, and determined, and a skillful enemy has been beaten, and that happiness and relief will find its natural outlet.
And yet, the war will not be over. The dead and the raped and tortured of Hong Kong and Singapore and Manilla and the Dutch East Indies will not have been revenged. Freedom will not have been secured. Only one door to brutal aggression will have been closed. So, I appeal to you today for the Unfinished Task, and, it must be paid for.
Destroying Germany is like killing a slavering maddog, leaping at your throat, then feeling that the job is done, while a slant-eyed jungle tiger is clawing at your back.
Now, certainly in this Bond Campaign, it should not be necessary to make the usual type of an appeal. No one need remind you that a bond purchase is not a gift, nor is it a sacrifice in any way whatsoever. It is a gilt-edged investment in an interest-bearing security, with the total resources and physical assets, every mine, machine, building and business of the Dominion, and the honor of the Canadian Public behind it.
With this money that you now lend-and, it therefore serves a double purpose; it buys twice-you will own in the postwar period better things than you have ever possessed. You will have nicer cars, better homes, improved heating, mechanical refrigeration, radios, television, vacation trips, and all of those things dear to our hearts in peace-time and that bring convenience, happiness, comfort and better health.
I do not have to recite to you any further story of bloodshed and sacrifice on all of the battle fronts of the world because our sons are paying that price, not only in daily and continued hardship, and lonesomeness, and disease, interruption of education and interference with careers, but in unbearable physical pain and their life's blood.
That, we all know, and the lengthening casualty lists retell it to us every day. Not only that, but the grief in broken homes demands that we buy an end to this conflict, if only one day sooner, and to freely trade dollars for the lives of our sons.
Dollars for Sons! The greatest bargain in the history of the world!--and I said that to you once before.
I need not tell you that war is the greatest destroyer that the minds of evil men can conceive; that the progress of a generation can be wiped out in a few years of it; that food, ammunition, clothes, medicine, must be furnished in enormous quantities, and on time! If it takes every dollar of our income, right down to the barest necessities and, we haven't come close to that yet, what right have we to complain?
Why should there be one standard of living for a soldier in danger and a better standard for a civilian in safety? The soldier lives a life of bare necessity and he gets back nothing. Those who have given their lives get back not one single, sweet hour of it, as you get back every dollar and more. Certainly, no commonplace indulgence in what we term "oratory" would be needed or be even in good taste on this occasion.
What, then, is my appeal to a people who have heard every conceivable reason reported over and over? It is simply now, to complete an Unfinished Task. My fear is that many millions of our people--yours and mine--will regard the job as done and finished, before it is done!
Behind me, on this map, is the irrefutable evidence of an unfinished task, so gigantic in scope, and still pregnant with doubt and uncertainty because we have not yet be gun to destroy the well-trained, first-line Japanese Army of approximately five million troops 'and still more millions in reserve.
Therefore, I have talked to you up to now, and will, for the next few minutes, as a Business Man should talk in plain terms of facts and of objectives that admit of no compromise and no lessening of effort and expense.
Consider this with me now! From the very first, we have under-rated Japan, and we are still making this same mistake. We are pleased and even excited by the progress of the British Campaign in Burma, the opening of a new Ledo Road, partial reopening of the Burma Road, and the recapture of Manila.
Americans give their prayers for, and their heartfelt thanks to MacArthur, in his return to the Philippines; a job, by the way, in itself, not yet finished, although begun October 20, six months ago. We are very proud of Admiral Nimitz, the American Fleet, and the giant armadas of B-29's made, incidentally, in my own home town-that awesome, majestic Queen of the Sky, that is dealing systematic destruction to the cities of Japan.
We are equally proud of the contribution of the Australians in New Guinea, a brave group of men sometimes forgotten in this conflict. Together, you and we, have swept the ocean fairly clean of the Japanese Navy and driven the Air Force to cover on Formosa and the Japanese homeland and Asia.
All of those things are fine and hopeful and in the right direction, but we over-rate them in terms of the job yet to be done. We over-rate our own blows. We consistently over-rate the still remaining strength of Japan, 90% of whose army is still intact. We have, in fact, not yet even faced their first-line army.
We didn't believe, because we didn't want to believe, that Japan would take the Philippines and I can remember when Bataan and Corregidor were hailed as the impregnable Gibraltars and Maltas of the Pacific, but they did! We didn't believe that Japan would take Singapore, the world's greatest fortress on which the British have spent $400,000,000 to fortify and thought no combination of hostile forces could take it, but they did take it-and quickly and easily, too. What a shock it was to the whole Empire-in the sinking of the Repulse and the Prince of Wales--that you could no longer depend upon naval power! We didn't believe they would overwhelm Burma, or that anyone, for that matter, could fight through those jungles, but they did do it.
We didn't believe that they would fan out over an enormous empire, 5,000 x 6,000 land and water miles, only fragments of which have been recovered--but they did do it--in just four months and have held it now for three and one-half years.
Every Japanese flag on this map identifies a strong and a known naval or air base. There may be many more that we do not know about because the Japanese have been fighting for preparation time, and hence, willing to lose men and ships and planes. In these three and one-half years, those busy little rats have had plenty of time to organize tricky and intricate defenses, as they did at Tarawa and Saipan, Kwajelein, and Iwo Jima, taking a definite and fearful toll of American lives, each fine more disastrous than Dieppe, for a greater number of course of Japanese lives but, lives they are willing to spend, as we spend dollars.
The Japanese have not yet been driven even from their island Empire. The proceeds of their banditry have not yet been recovered. They have been weakened. They have been by-passed. In many cases, they can not be supplied or reinforced, but they are still there. And, that deadly, sinister pattern which began to unfold itself on the occasion of our first contact on the Island of Attu, where 1.900 Japanese soldiers were killed, none wounded, and only 20, prisoners; that "battle to the death", where they do not surrender, they do not give up, even in the face of inevitable defeat and destruction--you have to kill every one of them, as you would so many wild beasts--the pattern which began at Attu and has continued until Iwo Jima, where over 20,000 Japanese soldiers were killed, sees less than 50 taken prisoners, against a casualty total of 20,000 American Marines.
There has never been a war fought where such a psychology entered into the conflict. Never! It has not been true in Europe. It upsets all normal calculations of manpower losses and material usages.
800,000 to 900,000 Japanese soldiers, they say, have been killed and we do not have 5,000 Japanese in prison camps in the same length of time in which one and one half million German soldiers have been captured because they found it no longer of any use to fight: Incidentally, lest we get too excited over the 800,000 or 900,000 Japanese dead and regard it as a conclusive achievement, let me remind you in that same period of time, one and one-half million Japanese have come of military age.
Where we have put 8 or 9 under the sod, 15 new ones (nearly twice as many) have sprung up, and they too, must be killed.
How many years will that take? The Japanese, have not yet gone below 20 years of age for army recruits and in the United States, at least for a year, we 'have been down among the 18-year-olds.
At the present rate of destruction of Japanese lives as against the Japanese birth rate and normal progress year-by-year into military age-an endless chain belt of Japanese boys, bred for war--we would have to kill them at the ratio accomplished up to now, and do it steadily and every day for more than ten years, before it had any appreciable effect on Japanese manpower.
As a matter of fact, General Homma told Clark Lee, the Associated Press correspondent, that they were willing to spend ten million lives in the Japanese War with the Allies and then he asked a rather pungent question, "How many lives are you willing to lose?"
Maybe some change will take place in their psychology. Maybe some political upheaval will occur. Maybe they will put on the false face of Peace and try to salvage something out of inevitable defeat--but also, maybe they will not.
It isn't enough, therefore, just to destroy their manpower, because that would take too long and require too much of our own beloved manpower in return. Our only hope is to destroy their productive resources and their means of making weapons, any kind of weapons. Well, that takes ships and planes and rockets and bombs, all bought with your bond dollars.
Now, those are facts, not pleasant, but we must face them and they should serve to temper this wholly unjustified feeling that a few mouths after Germany is out of the war, the combined power of the British and American Fleets will defeat Japan.
I was talking to an important group of business executives a while ago in Seattle. Governor Langlie sat on one side, Rear Admiral Wood, recently returned from Guadalcanal, on the other; across from me a Brigadier-General, who had been at Tarawa.
I was complimenting Admiral Wood on the job the American Navy and her submarines had done in whittling clown the Japanese Navy and the great destruction of her merchant fleet-a natural thing for me to do. I was surprised to hear a grizzled Navy man, steeped in the traditions of the Navy, say to me
"Mr. Carney, our Navy will not win this war no matter how many ships you launch. Air fleets will not win the war if you blacken the sky with planes. We have had control of the air over China almost since the beginning and have steadily lost-lost both ground and our carefully and laboriously prepared bases. The war will be won only when a man with a bayonet stands in the enemy's backyard and tells him what to do; when the Infantry land, occupy and hold it."
Admiral Nimitz says:
"We are under no illusion about this opposition. We know that our ships and planes alone can not destroy this enemy. The Jap has dug himself in. We must land, wherever he is, and dig him out."
Well, I'm just a civilian. You might give scanty heed to my opinions because it would seem that I was just another "arm-chair strategist" popping off. You should give respect to the men I have just quoted.
"We must land wherever he is and dig him out"-so, let's see where the Japanese soldier is! Many people think we have driven them from the Solomons. They are still there! They are still at Bougainville, the scene of one of our earliest island battles. We have occupied and kept a beach-head only 8 x 32 miles. The Japs have the rest of the island. American troops and the Marines landed at the tip end of New Britain about a year and a half ago at Arawe. The Japs have the rest of that island. They still have their base at Kavieng, Buin, Buka. They are still at Rabaul and at Truk. Weakened, of course, but this popular idea that they are going to "die on the vine" is not literally true. They have ammunition, food, and eventually they will have to be routed out of their caves and killed like rats. That takes materials, ammunitions, that your bonds will pay for.
They are still in some of the Palau Islands and at Yap; 45,000 Jap soldiers at Wewak on New Guinea, three years after the beginning of our campaign for that island. Notice that, you short-war guessers--three years--and not all of New Guinea recovered.
They still have the whole of the Dutch East Indies, Java, itself, will mean a substantial land campaign. They have not yet been driven from the Philippines, nor from Burma. In this empire, they have a fourth of all the material wealth of the world and I do not mean money. I mean wealth! Iron ore and coal in North China, all that Japan could ever use, if we give her the thing she has been fighting for--Time--to use it.
They do not have our industrial and productive resources but neither do they have to fight the war and carry their men and materials 7,000 miles away.
Then, too, every time we make a landing on an island, part of our strength, like water, soaking into a blotter, is absorbed in the men and materials that must be left there. Fifteen men are now required to keep one frontline soldier fighting.
In this area, they have a controlled manpower of 400,000 people. To give you an idea of manpower, we have thought of Java, at least in my country, as a cup of coffee. Let's look at the real Java. Here it is, a little island about the size and shape of Long Island, perhaps somewhat larger, and you could double it up and "stuff it" into about half of a Canadian Province.
On that island, there are four times as many people as in the entire Dominion of Canada! Forty-five to fifty million people-821 per square mile! Those young native Japanese, who were 12 to 14 years of age at Pearl Harbour Day, who have never heard of the Four Freedoms or the Atlantic Charter, can become, and many of them have already become, part of the Japanese military manpower, being drilled and organized under the leadership of the Japanese officers, and they must be killed.
Since Japan controls the distribution of food, they will fight as men have always fought-to fill their stomachs! It's fine to talk about freeing Korea-in the meantime, there are 300,000 Koreans in the Japanese Army and they must be killed. Wherever you see the Japanese flag on this map, it must be eventually replaced with the star of the United Nations-and what a job that will be.
Consider these plain facts. It took two million tons of shipping to place 30,000 men only, on the Marshall Islands. Two million tons! That was not the supplies--just the ship tonnage!
It requires ten tons of supplies per man, per month, a great percentage of it gasoline, to sustain a fighting force in that area. Ten tons per man per month! To land a million men on the Chinese Coast,--as Admiral Nimitz says, must be done; to begin the destruction of the Japanese Army, fighting as they will be, over terrain familiar to them and over which they have been practicing for years, would require ten million tons per month of supplies, plus the ship tonnage to carry it, and that, if there be no destruction by Japanese land-based bombers.
We do not know what damage will be inflicted by the Japanese Air Force but some, of course, and it's certain that their monthly production of planes exceeds our monthly destruction because their production goes on every day, and our destruction comes intermittently.
It may require the total combined strength of the American and British Forces, Navies, Land and Air Forces, and your dollars, and maybe the help of Russia; not just to defeat--that's the main point, not to defeat as we have done the German Army in Europe-but to destroy, completely destroy, the Japanese Army in Asia and their military might in their own homeland.
Bitter and expensive and long-protracted as the war in Europe has been, six years of it, at least there we had the full power of the Red Army and the convenience of the British Isles as a natural base and a take-off for planes and invasion forces.
No one can know for sure, but it may easily be true and, if so, we had better set ourselves for it, that the war in Europe is just the preliminary bout-at least for you in Canada and we, in the United States-and that the main bout, in terms of time and cost, will be in the Pacific. At least we can not afford to take chances. I submit to you tha. every short-war guesser up to now has been wrong.
Your own General Alexander was wrong, and with some chagrin, admitted it! General Montgomery was wrong. General Eisenhower was wrong. General Marshall was wrong. Our own Admiral Halsey got "out on a limb", when he prophesied that Japan would be defeated at the end of 1943. Even Mr. Churchill, who has been "righter" than most and less inclined to let temporary victory affect him, at one time placed 1945 as the last conceivable period of time in which the war could continue.
Now, we are in the middle of 1945, with only the European end in sight.
Since the short-war guessers have been wrong, it may be that the long-war guessers could be right. At least it is better sense, since we have been wrong up to now, to assume that it be long, and by putting forth every conceivable effort and the investment of every dollar, shorten it, by so much as one day, than to assume that it be short, or still worse, assume that it is over, when Germany is finished, and, through the inevitable relaxation, thus prolong it.
Maybe Russia will come into the war-it looks like it now-and have the same effective power against Japan that they have had against Germany, but we do not know this and if they do, we may need all the help Russia can give. They are more vulnerable in Siberia, with only two railroad lines to carry men and supplies.
Maybe the Islands of Japan will be overwhelmed with some earthquake disaster but we can not depend upon any such act of Nature.
The 90% of the Japanese Empire that has been bypassed must be swept clean. We must "land, and occupy, and hold". Then, in China and in the Japanese homeland, destroy a fanatically brave and, as yet, an untouched Army that will fight until the last man is dead, if they follow the pattern that has been set up to now.
THAT IS THE UNFINISHED TASK! What it will take and how long, no one knows, but every dollar in this campaign and more to follow. Stopping short, not of a Japanese defeat-again, I emphasize that-but of Japanese military destruction, will just invite another war for our next generation.
We are at a point where even more than the ordinary demands of war are required of us-not more bravery, because our sons have filled the cup of sacrifice full with their courage-not, necessarily, better weapons, because on the whole, we have had the world's best-not just the will to win, although the desire to win quickly should be intensified as our losses increase-over 1,000,000 casualties for the British Empire and nearly 1,000,000 casualties for the United States alone, even though our wartime period be little more than half as much.
We are at a point now where war exhaustion is making itself felt; when we're tired of sacrifice and grief and pain; tired of the daily breaking of hearts as the casualty notices come in; at a point where Japan has craftily figured we would be-tired in nerves and mind and body and depleted in resources, to a point where they figure we would be willing to end this war on a negotiated basis short of the destruction of their military power. Even the Mad Man of Europe stimulates his people to fanatic defense in the hope, he says, that we may "become tired".
We are like a runner who has reached the point of physical pain, where he needs his "second wind".
It is when we reach a point where we feel we can endure no more that the winner of a struggle like this is determined. The hand of the fighter, who stands on his feet at the end of a fight even though he is spent, is lifted in victory.
Therefore, we need to draw upon all of our resources and one of those is unbeatable faith!
On the front of the mantle in your famous Hind's Head Hotel at Bray, England, there is a well-known inscription
"Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. No one was there."
That sort of faith is required of us now.
And finally, many times, the determining factor between two antagonists, two conflicting business interests, the difference in the career of two men-one a failure, the other a success, and yet with many qualities of equal value, is the deciding one, namely, THE POWER TO FOLLOW THROUGH. This is the sort of thing that carries an exhausted runner across the finish line, when all physical strength has left and endurance has been exhaunted.
In a similar, perhaps an even greater crisis, in the life of an ancient people. the prophet Isaiah pretty well tells the story of this whole war, in just three verses
"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."
Well, there was that period in Britain's war experience where they were well-nigh defenseless, exhausted upon the sands of Dunkirk, and almost perishing under the German Blitz, but God gave power (what else could it have been, if there be any who scoff ?)-God gave power to that valiant British Air Force and he gave increased strength when the British people, stripped of weapons, had no might.
The next verse:
"Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall."
That's what happened in Germany and will in Japan. The Nazi youth, their young men so filled with brutal and arrogant pride and the Nazi doctrine of the "Superman", have fainted, and Japanese young men shall utterly fall, even their ten million.
The third, and climactic verse--and its meaning surcharges the atmosphere here today:
"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Discourage an enemy and you partially defeat him. Let us discourage Japan, and, by a quick raising of the money in both of our bond campaigns, serve notice that whatever it takes, that, we have!
And I offer to you in closing, words that should ring in your ears and find a resting place in your heart, as so many of Mr. Churchill's have in ours; words of a man of whom all America is proud--General MacArthur--who, after his landing in Manila, said this
"We do not count anything done as long as anything remains to be done." Behind me, on this map, there is a picture of what remains to be done. Do not buy bonds, I beg of you, that you can comfortably buy or invest money that you can reasonably spare. Do not let our sons put us to shame. They offer, and give not a part, but all they have. Shall we do less? Only, in this case, we do not give -we merely lend. But let us lend every dollar, down to our barest living need and do it not only for our own selfish interests, for the safety and welfare of our generation, but do it so that this complete destruction of German and Japanese military mania and their fearful punishment, stand as a warning signal to all generations to come; so that mankind and nations may learn to live together in friendship and that, this time, truly, we may have Peace; turning to and accepting in our hearts the words and the example of the Prince of Peace.
And pray God that the Sign of the Cross shall banish the use of the sword and that your own great Empire, and my country, standing together as friends and comrades, shine with increased glory among the nations of the world.