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The General Staff and Its Problems

The General Staff and Its Problems

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in the field risks his life for a

meagre pittance while the

stay-at-

home is

drawing, at no risk to

himself, wages which are

usually

higher than the

salary of a

government official or the

pay of

a Staff officer. The Auxiliary Service Act which has taken

the

place of

my proposals actually promotes the

wage-

scramble. The '

duty

'

mentioned in clause i of this law is

now almost

entirely forgotten, while '

rights

'

are

everything.

I need not mention that the most

generous measures for im-

proving the conditions of the

working classes are desired

by

me as much as

anyone. I

regret most

sincerely that the food

supply of the workers in some

parts failed

occasionally some

time back.
"

The

Auxiliary Service

Act, in its

present form, is a

positive

obstacle to the financial

stability of the State

apart from the

evils of its incidental

effects, such as the demoralization,

especially of women and the

young, the

gradual extinction of

the middle classes and its

tendency to obliterate the distinction

between duties and

rights.

"

As our financial

stability exerts a considerable influence on

the economic situation and

particularly on our

military situa-

tion, both now and in the

future, I consider it

my duty to

point out these

dangers and to

emphasize the

necessity of

providing against them at once.

My proposals are as follows :

"

I. The best solution would be the

repeal of the

Auxiliary

Service Act and the introduction of a

liability to service or

'auxiliary service' for women; the

question of better

conditions for the

working classes could be dealt with in the

new bill.

"

2.

Secondly, it seems to me essential that all

government

departments and authorities should conduct an

inquiry, or be

examined, to see whether their

staffs, both male and female,

are not too

large. I believe this would result in the release of

considerable

numbers, particularly from the

newly formed

departments, but also from the

military departments.

"

3. With or without a modification of the

Auxiliary Service

Wages and War Profits

173

Act on the lines of i above

(see i), local maximum rates of

salaries should be fixed for the officials and

auxiliary employees

who are left

(clerks, female clerks, etc.), and the

payment of

higher rates

strictly forbidden. Both in

industry and trade

there have been bitter

complaints about this.

"

4. Lastly, all workers and other

persons under contract

who have no

family to

support must contribute towards the

funds to

provide for men disabled in the war.

"

It is certain that a

large number of men who have been

on active service will

require a

period of convalescence or

medical treatment to restore their health before

resuming

their civil

occupations. The earning power of

many of

them will have been reduced. It is

only equitable that

the enormous

wages of those who work at home and have

only themselves to think about should contribute

something

to

defray the

expenses involved.

(Signed)

"

von Hindenburg."

3-

"

Chief of the General Staff of the Field

Army.

"

11. No.

72467 op.

"

G.H.Q.,

"8/12/1917.
"To THE Director of the War Bureau, the Minister of

Public Works, the Imperial Chancellor, the Imperial

Economic Office and the Secretary of the Treasury.

"

It is some time since the

Secretary of the

Imperial

Treasury first stated that the financial

position is

extremely

unfavourable and in the

long run must make it doubtful whether

we can continue the war and embark

upon reconstruction

when it is over. The

explanation is the fact that the cost of

the war has risen to an

utterly abnormal

figure. I have

just

seen the minutes of the conference at the

Ministry of Public

Works on

21/10 on the effect of the scale of

wages in

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