White Glove Wednesday – IBM Plaque

“WE ARE AT WAR – TALK NET” is a plaque given to George C. Marshall from International Business Machines (I.B.M.). The saying is referenced in a 1943 speech by Frederick Nichol, Vice-President and General Manager of I.B.M. in which Nichol states:

We have in our business, all through our factories and offices, a sign which reads: “We are at war—talk NET.” Here is a clear example of Logistics: As I speak, a shell from an American gun thunders through the jungle. To fire that shot, the countless links in a globe-encircling chain had to be connected. The cartridge case made in Connecticut, the propellant powder in New Jersey, the body of the shell forged in Pittsburgh, machined in Detroit, and filled with explosive charge in Illinois, met at a final assembly point, a fuse and primer manufactured in Missouri. The complete round was transported by rail, truck, ship, plane, and by sweating soldiers, to the firing point—on hand and on time. Multiply that one shell by millions. Then think not only of ammunition but of tanks and planes and guns and ships—food and clothing and shelter—of fuel, repairs and medical supplies!

Six years later the I.B.M. Country Club would invite Marshall to be their keynote speaker during “Tent City,” a meeting of I.B.M. salesmen. When opened to the public, over 35,000 people showed up to hear Marshall urge support of the Marshall Plan, stating that America must keep “going forward, step by step, as it is necessary to go, in order to bring a continuing and lasting peace to the world.”