Chapter 1: Industrial Mobilization
Alan Gropman

In a toast made by Joseph Stalin during the December 1943, Teheran Conference the Soviet dictator praised United States manufacturing:

I want to tell you from the Russian point of view, what the President and the United States have done to win the war. The most important things in this war are machines. . . . The United States . . . is a country of machines. Without the use of those machines . . . we would lose this war.1

World War II was won in largest part because of superior allied armaments production.2 The United States greatly out produced all


its allies and all its enemies, and at its output peak in late 1943 and early 1944, was manufacturing munitions almost equal to the combined total of both its friends and adversaries. The prodigious arms manufacturing capability of the United States is well known by even casual readers of World War II history, if its decisiveness is not as well understood. But myths provoked by sentimentality have evolved in the half century since the war ended, and these have become a barrier to comprehending the lessons of that era.

When viewed in isolation, the output is indeed impressive. United States gross national product grew by 52 percent between 1939 and 1944 (much more in unadjusted dollars), munitions production sky rocketed from virtually nothing in 1939 to unprecedented levels, industrial output tripled, and even consumer spending increased (unique among all combatants). But United States industrial production was neither a "miracle" nor was its output comparatively mighty given the American advantages of abundant raw materials, superb transportation and technological infrastructure, a large and skilled labor force, and, most importantly, two large ocean barriers to bar bombing of its industries.3 Germany, once it abandoned its Blitzkrieg strategy, became similarly productive, if not more so, and British and Russian industry, given German attacks on Britain and the Soviet Union, performed outstandingly, too.4

This is not to say that United States logistics grand strategy5 was


not ultimately effective. The United States and its allies were, of course, victorious, and in winning, the United States lost far fewer lives than any of its adversaries and fewer than its main allies. Stalin was correct when he hailed American production. But the halo that has surrounded the era needs to be examined because enormous governmental supervisor labor-management relations,6 and domestic political frictions hampered the effort--and there is no reason to think that these problems would not handicap future mobilization efforts. With enormous threats looming in the mid-1930s and increasing as Europe exploded into war at the end of the decade, the United States was in no way unified in its perception of the hazards, nor was there any unity in government or business about what to do about it.7 A nostalgic look at United States industrial mobilization during World War II will not make future mobilizations of any size more effective.

Certainly none of the major World War II adversaries was less prepared for war in 1939 than the United States. There were fewer than 200,000 men in the Army, only 125,202 in the Navy and fewer than 20,000 in the Marine Corps. Those troops who went on maneuvers


in 1939 and 1940 used broomsticks to simulate rifles and trucks to represent tanks.8 Despite war orders from Britain and France in 1939 and 1940 and Lend-Lease shipments to Britain, the Soviet Union, China, and elsewhere after Lend-Lease took effect in March 1941, there were still 5 million Americans unemployed at the end of the year.9 Hitler's Germany had long since absorbed its unemployment by building arms and German infrastructure. In the United States great progress had been made by the time production peaked in late 1943, compared with the situation in 1941, but output could have been even higher.

The inefficiency of World War II industrial mobilization, the fact that it took from August 1939, when the first federal agency designed to analyze mobilization options--the War Resources Board--as inaugurated, to May 1943, when the final supervisor agency was put in place--the Office of War Mobilization--should be instructive. That industrial mobilization, because it had failed in World War I, was studied throughout the inter-war period should also be sobering. Certainly the interwar planners hoped to improve on the World War I experience with industrial mobilization. They failed.

Mobilization Activities Before Pearl Harbor Day

Despite the fact that World War I had been raging for 32 months when the United States declared war, and in spite of the large numbers of war orders received by United States industry to arm the French and the British, and despite the National Defense Act of


1916 which, among many other things, established a mechanism for mobilizing industry. United States ground and air forces that fought in World War I were largely supplied by French and British munitions. Industrial mobilization had been so inept that Congress passed legislation soon after World War I ended to build an apparatus to ensure that the next time the United States went to war it would be better mobilized industrially.

The National Defense Act, June 1920, explicitly outlined responsibilities in the Office of the Secretary of War that streamlined procurement for that day's military and planning for the future.

Hereafter, in addition to such duties as may be assigned him by the Secretary of War, the Assistant Secretary of War, . . . shall be charged with the supervision of the procurement of all military supplies and other business of the War Department pertaining thereto and the assurance of adequate provision for mobilization of materiel and industrial organizations essential to wartime needs . . . There shall be detailed to the office of the Assistant Secretary of War from the branches engaged in procurement such numbers of officers and civilian employees as may be . . . approved by the Secretary of War . . . Chiefs of branches of the Army charged with the procurement of supplies for the Army shall report direct to the Assistant Secretary of War regarding all matters of procurement.12

The Assistant Secretary of War now had under his control something that had been lacking in the Army for 150 years: unified


procurement and a directive to plan for future purchasing. In October 1921 in his first memorandum, the Assistant Secretary established a Procurement Division to supervise "the procurement of all military, supplies and other business of the War Department . . . and the assurance of adequate provision for the mobilization of material and industrial organizations essential to wartime needs." This division was further subdivided into a Planning Branch and a Current Supply Branch. The Planning Branch was accountable for planning for wartime procurement and industrial mobilization, and was also the agency designated to deal with the Navy department and all other government departments on "all matters pertaining to the allotment of industrial facilities and materials required for war." The Planning Branch was further subdivided into many sections including: Industrial Policy, Purchase, Production Allocation, Labor, Finance, Foreign Relations, Transportation, and Storage. It survived into World War II, and for more than a decade was the only agency engaged in industrial mobilization planning.13

People who worked in the Assistant Secretary's office, however, received no respect from members of the General Staff, and throughout the 1920s and 1930s there was friction between the logisticians and the operators. At times the relationship became sulfurous. For example, General Charles P. Summerall, Army Chief of Staff from 1926 to 1930, "forbade his subordinates to cooperate with" the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War, "which he recommended be abolished." He called the Assistant Secretary's Executive Officer, Brigadier General George Van Horn Mosely, a logistician, a "traitor," and a "scoundrel."14


In addition to the Planning Branch in the Assistant Secretary's office, there was another logistics entity: the Army and Navy Munitions Board, created in 1922 to coordinate "the planning for acquiring munitions and supplies required for the Army and Navy Departments for war purposes and to meet the needs of any joint plans." This Board was also charged with developing "a suitable legislative program" to be put into effect at the appropriate time to "enable the procurement program to be" established. Unlike the procurement and planning duties determined for the Assistant Secretary, the Army and Navy Munitions Board had no specific legislative sanction and no appropriation until July 1, 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt directed that this organization and several other joint boards come tinder the direct supervision of the president.15

It was clearly understood that the Army and Navy Munitions Board was not subordinate to the Army and Navy Joint Board--mainly an operational planning organization--but was equal to it. Through the early 1930s there was little life and no power in the Munitions Board because of interservice problems. The Army G-3 did its planning for troop mobilization without reference to the Navy, and the Planning Branch did its industrial mobilization planning similarly oblivious to the Navy's potential needs. In 1932, however, the Munitions Board was reorganized to include the Director of the Planning Branch and similar personnel from the Navy logistics community. A secretary was authorized and eight divisions formed dealing with such items as price controls, contracting, commodities, power, etc. In 1933 the Board took over sponsorship of the industrial mobilization plans and began to compile lists of strategic and critical materials.16

Education For Mobilization

But when the Planning Branch was formed in 1921 and the Board in 1922, there was no formal schooling for the people who joined the staffs of either organization. That was rectified in 1924


with the establishment of the Army Industrial College. Staff Officers in the Assistant Secretary of War Office recognized from the start that formal education was needed if those who worked in the Planning Branch were to be effective. In 1924 the War Department issued a general order establishing the College: "A college to be known as the Army Industrial College . . . for the purpose of training Army officers in the useful knowledge pertaining to the supervision of all military supplies in time of war and to the assurance of adequate provisions for the mobilization of materiel and industrial organizations essential to war time [sic] needs." The College was assigned to the Assistant Secretary; for supervision rather than the General Staff which supervised all other general service schools. The first course lasted 5 months and had only 9 officers in its student complement, but soon after the College was established, Navy and Marine officers began attending. From the beginning, the student focus was on general logistics and not just on procurement. In the 1920s the prestige of the school was low, but over time it improved, although probably no officer--and certainly no combat officer--saw it as equal in importance to the Army War College.17

The motivations of the school's founders went beyond just understanding the mechanics of procurement and industrial mobilization. They hoped to educate military officers to control industrial mobilization, and in fact direct the war industries. These officers believed it had been a mistake to leave control of war industries in the hands of financiers and industrialists like Bernard Baruch during World War I, and thought that military control would yield efficiency. "Neither side viewed the other as a partner in a mutually beneficial endeavor."18

The staff officer most involved in fostering the creation of the College, James H. Burns, wrote: "While actual production was essentially the task of industry, planning and control--in the broad sense--of the production of War Department supplies . . . were primarily military responsibilities." He argued that the "authority" to


plan and control "should not be surrendered" to agencies outside of the War Department, and that Army "should organize" to supervise industry. He believed that the War Department "should not only have a plan worked out, but that military men should be thoroughly trained in the plan so that they could man key positions in time of war." Once war production was started "these men could be replaced by 'Captains of Industry' working as a part of the War Department organization." Thus the Army Industrial College was to provide logistical officers with the expertise to ensure their dominance over civilians in mobilization.19

The notion of the Army completely directing industry in the United States strikes one as arrogance at worst and naive at best, but it is most symbolic of the suspicion which soldiers held for businessmen--the former dedicated to their mission and to victory for which they would sacrifice their lives if necessary, and the latter dedicated to improving the bottom line. The notion that somehow soldiers (sailors and marines too since they became Industrial College students soon after the school opened) could master industry after a 5-month (later a 10-month) course is of course preposterous, and General Hugh Johnson, a World War I mobilization authority, wrote so in 1938 and again in 1939:

The Army Industrial College is a get-rich-quick course in which professional Army officers are taught, in a few months, all about running the industries of this country by military instructors, most of whom never even ran a peanut stand. . . . The average officer lives a life as remote from our day-to-day business struggle as a cloistered monk.

The War Department itself has no business whatever 'directing' industry in war. That is a mammoth and vital task--as great and vital as fighting a war. The Army already has the latter task. It should not jimmy up the works by taking on another just as big the moment the guns begin to roar . . . it would be just as


absurd and disastrous to use them on this job as it would be to elbow all the generals aside and put industrial leaders in command of armies. Put armies under soldiers and industrial mobilizers under industrialists and let all shoemakers stick to their lasts.20

By December 1941 the College had trained about 1,000 officers of whom 15 percent were from the Navy and Marine Corps. Many of these men worked in the Planning Branch and Army and Navy Munitions Board. During World War II there were about 25,000 officers in Army procurement, and no more than 2 percent of these could have been Industrial College graduates.21 The students of the Industrial College studied industry, intensely, examined the activities of the War Industries Board and other World War I mobilization agencies and analyzed mobilization problems from that war. They also provided analytical support to the Planning Branch and to the Army and Navy Munitions Board when these organizations wrote the various Industrial Mobilization Plans.22

Inter-War Planning for Industrial Mobilization

The National Defense Act of 1920--the foundation for the Planning Branch, the Army and Navy Munitions Branch, and the Army Industrial College--also directed that the Assistant Secretary of War prepare an industrial mobilization plan to prevent the fumbling that occurred during World War I.23 During the interwar period there were four plans written. The first, in 1922, written in the Planning Branch, was really an outline of a plan to be prepared in three volumes,


which evolved into an Industrial Mobilization Basic Plan in 1924--but which was still an outline plan. The latter recognized the need for an industrial mobilization super agency to be "established by act of Congress or by the President, under congressional authority for . . . coordinating, adjusting and conserving the available agencies for resources so as to promptly and adequately meet the maximum requirements of the military forces and the essential needs of the civilian population." This was essentially a procurement plan.

The keystone of the 1924 plan and all those that followed was a hypothetical M[Mobilization]-Day, the date of the first day of mobilization, considered synonymous with a declaration of war. The officers in the Planning Branch (and subsequent authors) found it inconceivable "in the light of American practice and thinking" that the "United States would ever begin mobilizing before the outbreak of war."24 As it actually happened, Roosevelt indeed began to consider mobilizing industry even before Germany invaded Poland. Four mobilization agencies were tried, and all of them failed, before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

The 1930 plan had three additional flaws, all of which were carried through in subsequent Industrial Mobilization Plans. One was the assertion that existing executive and other government agencies should not be used as any of the government's tools for industrial mobilization. This provoked hostility in the senior departments. Another was the failure to recommend a branch to collect, assess, and distribute statistics (also carried forward into subsequent plans), and, most significantly, the failure to recognize that the United States would probably have to assist in arming its allies.25

The 1933 plan's preface summarized the thinking behind all of the interwar industrial mobilization planning:


War is no longer simply a battle between armed forces in the field--it is a struggle in which each side strives to bring to bear against the enemy the coordinated power of every individual and every material resource at its command . . . The following comprise the essentials of a complete plan for mobilization of Industry:
  1. Procurement planning
    1. Determination of requirements
    2. Development of plans for the procurement of such requirements
  2. Plans for control of economic resources and mobilization of industry
    1. Determination of the measures to be employed to insure the proper coordination and use of the Nation's resources.
    2. Development of plans for the organization and administrative machinery that will execute these control measures.26

The plan was approved by both the Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy (the first to be approved by both, and the first written by the Army and Navy Munitions Board). This plan called for appointment by the president of an "Administrator of War Industries."27

The Army and Navy Munitions Board planned for a transition organization to mobilize industry during the period immediately after a declaration of war and before the War Industries Administration was fully formed. Planners wrote on July 19, 1934: ". . . to make the War Industries Administration responsive to the needs of the Army and Navy, it is proposed to take from the Army and Navy Munitions Board and from the Army and Navy Departments a limited number of seasoned officer personnel . . . to assist the Administrator of the War Industries Administration and to act as advisors to


him." They also suggested that the Army and Navy Munitions Board "conform its structure to that planned for the War Industries Administration." This meant that at the outset of the war the country's economy would be controlled by Army and Navy officers.28

The 1936 plan, a further revision of the 1933 plan (a revision of the 1930 plan) was 75 pages long, including suggested legislation!29 This Plan called for a War Resources Administration and War Resources Administrator, an individual with vast powers, similar to those that Bernard Baruch had in 1918 as head of the War Industries Board and James F. Byrnes was to get in May 1943 as Director of the Office of War Mobilization. Baruch, who was asked to review this plan, was critical of it because it failed adequately to consider the production needs of the civilian population. He was also insistent that industrial mobilization be implemented under civilian control and that specific plans for the use of industry should be made by civilian industrial experts in the respective fields. He found intolerable the degree of involvement in industrial mobilization of the Army and Navy Munitions Board.30

The 1939 plan was even shorter than the 1936 revision. Like the 1936 plan, it called for an Administrator of War Resources to be at the top of the entire mobilization apparatus and that all other agencies formed to mobilize the country's industries were to assist the War Resources Administrator.31 This Plan, was published after Germany invaded Poland, and it was not used. The muddling that had accompanied World War I mobilization was being repeated. Given the eagerness expressed by the Congress and the Assistant Secretary of War and the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, why?

For one reason, the plans were thin--the last being only 18 pages--and therefore superficial. One reason for this was the number of staff officers who could be in Washington either on the Army General Staff or in the Assistant Secretary's Office was severely limited


by Congress.32 There were simply too few staff officers to perform significant industrial mobilization planning at the same time as operational planning and other staff functions. Congress was especially concerned that the president might drag the country into an unnecessary war. The disillusionment and resentment that followed World War I hamstrung the president.34

Although perhaps better than nothing, and certainly better than anything on the shelf in April 1917, the Industrial Mobilization Plans were faulty. They were prepared entirely by military, agencies with some knowledge of industry but no real depth. They were, moreover, rigidly based on the M-Day concept and lacked the flexibility needed for adaptation to a gradual mobilization. The industrial mobilization planners, furthermore, envisioned a one-front war such as they had experienced in World War I. The Army and Navy Munitions Board were unwilling to work with existing governmental departments. And most importantly, President Roosevelt could not possibly abide a plan that put so much power in the hands of uniformed military.34 It was not even possible when the Soviet Union was invaded in June 1941. And Roosevelt was still uncomfortable putting control of the economy under the military when the United States was attacked on December 7, 1941.35


There were, in addition to political problems perceived by the president, internal difficulties within the Army. The rancor between the general staff and the Assistant Secretary's office was echoed in the lack of coordination between the logistics element (G-4) and the operations element (G-3) on the general staff. The operations plans drawn up by G-3 and various joint planning elements were logistically unrealistic. The G-4 wrote in 1936 that, with the 1933 Industrial Mobilization Plan and a survey of industry in hand (by 1940 the Planning Branch and other planners had surveyed 30,000 industrial firms which supplied 70,000 different items the Army required,36) the forces to be mobilized in the first 30 days after M-Day could be fed, transported and sheltered in a "reasonably satisfactory manner," and could also be "supplied with required equipment from storage of procurement except [author's emphasis] for airplanes, tanks, combat cars, scout cars, antiaircraft guns, searchlights, antiaircraft fire control equipment, .50 caliber machine guns, pontoon equipment. . . . gas masks, radio and telephone equipment and equipment for medical regiments."37

In addition to the political climate militating against implementation, superficial planning, disharmony between operators and logisticians, the United States business world was not too keen on being mobilized until the president and Congress and the people were behind it, and that did not occur until December 7, 1941. Fifteen years of contact between the military and industry had not much improved the attitude of businessmen.38 They were hurt by the boom and bust cycle of World War I and were not to be hurt willingly again.

Ultimately it came down to Roosevelt. He did indeed scuttle the Industrial Mobilization Plan of 1939 only to be driven back to its "essential form in 1943 after years of wasted administrative motion." Why? Because in the period from 1939 to 1941 he saw himself bound to his political base. He had to rally and sustain a "New Deal political coalition for reelection" and a country, for a "united world war effort."


In the end, the president rejected the Industrial Mobilization Plan because "he could not afford politically to be seen to support a plan that organized labor and agricultural spokesmen and influential New Dealers opposed, even if he had wanted it himself." Big industrialists, furthermore, were opposed to government control, had been hostile to much that Roosevelt had done during the New Deal, and had "demonstrated unparalleled ability to retain prerogatives notwithstanding economic and wartime crises. And they continued to exact a price for their private performances." The president "had to bargain" with the industrialists, "and bargaining means joint decision making and shared power.39

It is not that the Army Industrial College, the Planning Branch and the Army and Navy Munitions Board accomplished nothing. Their procurement recommendations were followed, and their surveys of industry helped the service procurement agencies. This was significant because these retained procurement authority" throughout the war. More than 90 percent of the ordnance contracts that were negotiated went to firms that had been surveyed in the 1920s and 1930s. And during 1942 the Army and Navy Munitions Board set priorities for all contracts for the Army, Navy, Maritime Commission and the Coast Guard and even some Lend-Lease orders. In late 1942 Board members were directly transferred to the industry divisions of the War Production Board ending this role.40

Yet Roosevelt must have given some thought to implementing the Industrial Mobilization Plan, because in August 1939 at Roosevelt's


behest, the Secretary of War appointed a War Resources Board chaired by Edward R. Stettinius, Jr. Board Chairman of United States Steel and four other prominent industrialists, educators, or investment bankers to study the Plan and recommend adoption or revision.41 Assistant Secretary of War Louis A.Johnson certainly thought that Roosevelt was about to implement the Industrial Mobilization Plan when he appointed the War Resources Board, because Johnson welcomed the members of the Board (with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Thomas Edison) on 9 August 1939 with an announcement that in the event of an emergency or war, the Board would become a super agency analogous to the War Industries Board in World War I. The Board endorsed most of the 1939 Industrial Mobilization Plan, but it was disbanded in November 1939 by the president and its report was classified.42

Why? For one thing, the Board membership included no one from either labor or agriculture. For another, the Plan contemplated speedy enactment of a full range of legislation required to permit a War Resources Administration to control prices, profits, wages, labor allocation, imports, exports, etc. But the president was not ready to ask for this legislation because he believed Congress was not ready to pass it. The president was fully aware of the vocal criticism of the Plan--that it was a scheme to drive the United States into war and also to put control of the economy in the hands of the military. At that time Roosevelt was also not primed to turn over the domestic economy to the War Resources Board. Roosevelt, finally, had not tested the men of the Board, and was unsure about their political loyalties, competence and agendas. A combination of domestic politics and Roosevelt's personality forced the demise of the War Resources Board, the Industrial Mobilization Plan, and the War Resources Administration.43


Mobilizing for War: 1939 to 1941

With the defeat of Poland and the onset of the Sitzkrieg (between October 1939 and May 1940), there was little momentum in Washington affecting industrial mobilization, although the General Staff and Joint Board were busy. There was no "referee of claims made by either armed service except the Army and Navy Munitions Board."44 With the attack on the Low Countries and France, however, industrial mobilization decisions were made. On May 25, 1940, Roosevelt established by Executive Order the Office of Emergency Management inside the Executive office of the president. This new organization helped coordinate and direct emergency agencies which were beginning to proliferate, and it spawned a number of important war organizations like the National Labor Relations Board, Office of Civilian Defense, Office of Defense Transportation, War Food Administration, War Manpower Commission, National Housing Agency, and Office of Price Administration. The head of this office was titled Liaison Officer for Emergency Management (William H. McReynolds).45

Immediately after creating the Office of Emergency Management, Roosevelt resurrected the Council on National Defense and its Advisory Commission. The Office of Emergency Management served as a secretariat for the Advisory Commission.46 These bodies had been sanctioned by legislation in 1916, and Congress had never repealed the authorization. The president, therefore, could recreate these agencies without congressional approval. The Council was made up of key cabinet officials: Secretaries of War, Navy, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, and Labor--those departments essential to mobilizing for war--but the Advisory Commission, "made no


pretense of reporting to the Council."47 Its seven civilian leaders (chosen with "political astuteness" by Roosevelt): Stettinius (advisor for industrial materials matters), William S. Knudsen (advisor for industrial production), Sidney Hillman (labor) Leon Henderson (price stabilization), Chester C. Davis (agriculture), Ralph Budd (transportation), Harriet Elliot (consumer protection)--reported individually and directly to Roosevelt.48

The members of the Commission organized into many divisions and subdivisions. Knudsen's industrial production element had subdivisions run by senior, experienced industrialists working for him: W.H. Harrison of American Telephone and Telegraph advising on construction, and Harold S. Vance of Studebaker counseling on machine tools and heavy ordnance, Dr. George Mead (inventor of the Wasp aircraft engine) on aircraft, E. F. Johnson of General Motors on small arms and ammunition, Admiral Emory S. Land (chairman of the Maritime Commission) on shipbuilding, George M. Moffett of the Corn Products Refining Company on food and chemicals. Stettinius, who ran the Industrial Materials Division had three subdivisions: mining and mineral products, chemical and allied products, and agricultural and forest products--all of which were run by big businessmen.49

However it was divided and subdivided, and no matter the caliber of the people in it, the Advisory Commission was not the agency


to supervise industrial mobilization--it had no formal leader (critical in an organization with powerful men who see themselves as equals), and (more importantly) no authority. And it is indicative of Roosevelt's frame of mind and approach to bureaucracy and domestic politics that this organization existed until October 23, 194150--even after subsequent organizations were founded.

Airplanes, especially bombers, were central to Roosevelt's strategic viewpoint, and the president turned to William Knudsen to help him generate the facilities that would eventually lead to construction of the greatest air armada in history. Purchases by the British and French before 1940 and by the British after 1940 helped lay the foundation for the unprecedented growth in the aviation industry.51 Creative funding to build the necessary aircraft manufacturing plants was also an initiation of the Advisory Commission. Unlike Germany, the United States mobilized by building armaments in depth rather than in width by first spending money and allocating resources to build factories. By contrast the Germans pushed more arms out of existing facilities by allotting materials for manufacture of munitions.52 Leon Henderson, a commission member, and Donald M. Nelson, an adviser to the Commission came up with a 5-year amortization scheme to permit industrialists to write off plant construction costs if these were expended for building munitions. Knudsen carried the ball in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee. Legislation spurred new construction at a critical time.53


After Pearl Harbor was attacked, the government generated the funds for most factory construction,54 but Roosevelt would have found it impossible to get this kind of funding in 1940. There was more to the Commission, though, than gearing up industry.

The Advisory Commission, probably because Sidney Hillman was a commissioner, made a pronouncement on labor calling for fair treatment of labor during the emerging crisis using the emergency to sop up unemployment, insisting on a 40-hour week with overtime pay for extra work, demanding compliance with the Walsh-Healy Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Labor Relations Act; pressing for adequate housing for the labor force, and asserting the need for non-discrimination in the labor force on the basis of age, race, or gender.55

Though the Commission industrialists could advise the president and cajole industry, the group failed because Roosevelt would neither give them the authority to succeed or often the information they needed. The president, for example, called in 1940 for industry, to tool up to build 50,000 airplanes per year. But nobody told the Commission what kinds of airplanes to produce or the numbers of each model. Everybody knew tanks would be needed in great numbers, but U.S. tank designs were in flux.56

Nobody was satisfied with the results of the Advisory Commission--neither its members nor the president nor mobilization gurus


like Bernard Baruch.57 Congressional dissatisfaction was reflected in Senator Robert Taft's November 21, 1940 announcement that he would introduce a bill to create a War Resources Board under a single administrator. Industrialists were also disturbed. Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., Chairman of the Board at General Motors, also in late November called for a single person to direct a National Defense Board, and several weeks later National Association of Manufacturers President J.W. Prentis made a plea for a single civilian leader with decision-making authority.58

This general dissatisfaction led Roosevelt to create by Executive Order, on January 7, 1941, the Office of Production Management, a "curiously blended compromise of many pressures" designed to stimulate production. Knudsen was appointed Director General, a logical choice it appeared at the time, and because labor support was essential to winning the battle of production, Sidney Hillman was made Associate Director General. The secretaries of war and navy were members of the Office of Production Management policy council, but Knudsen and Hillman were to run the Office, rationalize war production, and coordinate the many other government agencies involved in producing for rearmament.59

This Office had three functional divisions purchases, production, and priorities, and two staff divisions: a Bureau of Research and Statistics and a Production Planning Board. But there was extensive overlap in these functional and staff divisions--causing friction, and also much duplication between the Office of Production Management and a proliferation of liaison groups. "Businessmen, industrial representatives, and Army and Navy procurement officers seeking decisions were shunted back and forth from division to division,


sometimes for days and weeks."60 It was ineffective from the start and lasted only about a year.

The key problem with this new Office was similar to the central difficulty with the Advisory Commission, the lack of clear authority. To make matters worse, several parts of the Advisory Commission were spun off as independent entities such as the Office of Defense Transportation and Office of Price Administration. These operated as equals to the Office of Production Management.61 There developed factions, frictions, prejudices, and parochialisms, and Knudsen and Hillman were not able to cope with the resultant clashes,62 perhaps because Roosevelt did not give his support to Knudsen and Hillman when these disputes occurred. Another crucial problem was this new office never had control over civilian production,63 and from the time the Office of Production Management was founded, munitions production competed fiercely with manufacturing items for the civilian population. Industry would rather produce for civilians than for the government.64

Even Roosevelt's declaration of an unlimited national emergency on May 27, 1941 did nothing to improve Knudsen's lot. That act on the part of the president was supposed to create a merger of the Army and Navy Munitions Board and the Office of Production Management, but nothing like that occurred.65 However, progress


was made. On March 22 it issued Order M-1 requiring producers of aluminum give preference to defense orders and specifying the sequences in which non-defense orders should he filled. In the following months copper, iron, steel, cork, certain chemicals, nickel, rayon, rubber, silk, and other materials were brought under similar controls. The Office also prohibited the use of affected materials for less essential purposes. While the Army and Navy Munitions Board was permitted to prioritize military products, the Office of Production Management could assign priority ratings to essential civilian products.66

Additionally, the Office began to survey industry during this period to explore what production capacity existed. For example, Merrill C. Meigs, chair of the Joint Aircraft Committee for the Office of Production Management surveyed the aircraft industry to explore its potential output. Meigs also began to examine standardization potentialities so that something like mass production could be achieved in an industry that heretofore had resisted such approaches. Meigs, like other industrialists who probed industry, found that the most serious shortage confounding defense production was the scarcity of machine tools.67

As defense production was accelerating, moreover, manufacturers began to complain that they faced training problems and labor discontent. New skills were needed. Labor leaders tried to use the looming emergency to bid up wages. Roosevelt appointed in March 1941 a National Defense Mediation Board to settle controversies between employees and employers. It was instructed to act when the Secretary of Labor certified that a dispute threatened production or transportation of equipment or materials essential to national defense that could not be adjusted by a conciliation commission inside


the Department of Labor.68 As an example of Roosevelt's penchant for creating competing institutions, the Office of Production Management was not a partner to this Mediation Board, nor were its successor organizations. Until the Office of War Mobilization was founded on May 27, 1943, and the president decided to support its director explicitly, disputes between agencies like the Office of Production Management (or the War Production Board later) and any other significant organization could only be settled by Roosevelt himself, and he was too burdened before Pearl Harbor to adjudicate disputes between powerful departments, bureaucrats, or personalities. After Pearl Harbor, such an effort by the president was out of the question.

The Office of Production Management was concerned about the labor pool and initiated large retraining programs. Also, in August 1941, the Office urged manufacturers to employ women and entreated women to enter the laboring force. Roosevelt made public and private statements to help ensure that minorities received a fair deal from industry and labor unions. In June 1941 he created the Committee on Fair Employment Practice to investigate and redress grievances growing out of departures from his policy against employment discrimination on grounds of race, creed, color, or national origin.69 This was pragmatic--if the United States was to be the Arsenal of Democracy, it needed to eliminate barriers to employment.

Typical of Roosevelt, in April 1941 he established another organization that had elements within its portfolio that the leaders of Office of Production Management believed properly belonged to it. Under Leon Henderson, a new dealer bureaucrat, Roosevelt established the Office of Price Administration and Civilian Supply. This newest entry was responsible for recommending procedures to dampen inflation and also to ensure that civilian needs received adequate attention. Civilians were not to be neglected, because to do so could destroy morale and weaken health and safety standards. But they could not be pampered. Henderson, called an "all-outer" because he believed in an all


out war effort, one that paid attention to victory before considering business profits and civilian discomforts. Henderson believed he had the power to curtail civilian production in order to promote industrial conversion. But the Office of Production Management thought it had this authority. The latter was staffed by industrialists who wanted to produce for the civilian market. Henderson was disturbed by wide-scale automobile manufacturing and production of appliances that were consuming steel and other materials needed for the war effort. In July 1941, he took the initiative and ordered curtailment in future production of automobiles, and the Office of Production Management forced Roosevelt to mediate. In August Roosevelt ruled that the civilian supply function was to be broken off from Henderson's office and given to the Office of Production Management.70 It was all a matter of priorities, and clearly the business leaders who predominated in the Office of Production Management had different priorities from Henderson and perhaps even the president. But the political moment had not yet arrived for Roosevelt where he could ask civilians and their suppliers for sacrifices.

Establishing grand priorities was essential in the summer of 1941 because on July 9, 1941, Roosevelt directed the War and Navy Departments to collaborate on a report "on the munitions and mechanical equipment of all types which . . . would be required to exceed by an appropriate amount that available to our potential enemies. From your report we should be able to establish a munitions objective indicating the industrial capacity which this nation will require." On August 30 he told the services to factor Lend-Lease requirements into their analysis and asked for a final answer in 10 days.71

The War Department "Victory Plan" called for 61 armored divisions and 61 mechanized divisions, but the Army created only 16 of the former and none of the latter, although American infantry divisions were, by comparison to any other country's, lavishly mechanized


Lend-Lease shipments frustrated this. The Army estimated that the United States sent enough equipment to the United Kingdom and other parts of the British empire, the Soviet Union, France, Italy after it switched sides, China, and other allied and associated states to create 101 U.S.-type divisions. Where the Victory Plan called for 215 Army divisions of all kinds, only 89 were created.72

Remarkably, however, the size of the Army the Victory Plan called for was close to the number actually mobilized. The Victory Plan called for an Army of 8.8 million (reaching 8.3 million at its peak), a ground force of 6.7 million (topping out at 6 million) and an Air Force of 2 million (which peaked at 2.3 million). The Victory Planners were assisted by Army Air Force planners who determined that the United States would need 6,680 heavy bombers and 3,740 very heavy bombers and 13,038 bombers for replacements. They also called for 8,775 fighters and an equal number of replacement fighters.73 The Navy had been building since the mid-1930s, and had in being a two-ocean Navy that dwarfed Hitler's (except for submarines) and Mussolini's, and was larger than Japan's. It was not until December 17, 1941 that the Bureau of Ships presented its first "Master Plan for Maximum Ship Construction" which became the guiding document for the president and his agencies devoted to munitions production. 74


By this time, however, Roosevelt and his advisors believed that the Office of Production Management was failing. Production was not accelerating, and the most nagging problem was establishing priorities. What was to be built first, to whom would it go (domestic or overseas military), what essential civilian items were to be manufactured, who got which raw materials and when? The Office had limited priority-setting authority. Bernard Baruch and the Director of the Bureau of the Budget called for the creation of a single agency to centralize priority authority over all production, civil and military. Because of such recommendations Roosevelt created the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board, under the leadership of Donald Nelson, a key member of the Office of Production Management. Vice President Henry Wallace was Chairman of the Board and Harry Hopkins was also a board member, but Nelson was in charge.

This new Board was to be both a part of the Office of Production Management and superior to it in matters of allocating resources and setting priorities. Thus William Knudsen's subordinate, Donald Nelson--Knudsen's Director of Purchases and later Director of Priorities--was now his superior in the most important control element: establishing priorities and allocations. The Executive Order establishing this new agency authorized the Board to: "Determine policies and make regulations governing "allocations and priorities with respect to the procurement, production, transmission, or transportation of materials, articles, power, fuel, and other commodities among military, economic defense, defense aid, civilian and other major demands of the total defense program." But there were other agencies which were granted similar responsibilities.75 The Board's first meeting was on September 2, 1941 and its last on January 13, 1942 (when it was absorbed in the War Production Board). In that time production indeed increased.76


The Supply Priorities and Allocations Board recognized early that efficiency lay in establishing an allocation system versus spending time on priorities. Trying to establish priorities corrupted the system when everybody wanted everything now and certainly ahead of everybody else.77 Many agencies were in the business of establishing requirements and the order in which they would be manufactured. The Joint Chiefs of Staff played a major role and beneath them the Army and Navy Munitions Board. But the Army and Navy, who did their own procuring might not always agree with the decisions of the Joint Chiefs. Other powerful agencies were also involved in this process--the Maritime Commission, Lend-Lease, and (after mid-January 1942) the War Production Board. The last was, "in theory, empowered to make decisions on reductions if its Planning Committee indicated the necessity for such a step. Because of its composition, however, the Board itself could rarely agree on such matters, and it never claimed authority to determine the order of strategic necessity." Grand strategy was supposed to be the governor, the province of the Joint Chiefs who would send its munitions priorities to the War Production Board based on it.78

The Board's task was enormous. Once the needs for the military and the civilian economy were known, and of course these essentials changed, how much steel, aluminum, copper, rubber, and dozens of other materials were needed to build the millions of weapons and other necessities? It was crucial not to manufacture too much of a munition, because with the people and facilities stretched tight, superfluous production would cost money, effort, energy,, and most importantly, time. Sequencing was also critical. There is no sense in


allocating steel for aircraft engines if there is insufficient aluminum to build airframes. The Board, like the Office of Production Management, found that the estimates the Army and Navy Munitions Board of raw material requirements were "practically worthless." For example the Munitions Board estimated the requirement for copper for the first 2 years of the war to support a 4 million person army was 25,000 tons, when the real requirement turned out to be nearly 1 million tons.79

The Army and Navy were not comfortable with civilians responsible for prioritization and allocation, and in November 1941 made a move to put a super priorities committee above Nelson's Supply Priorities and Allocations Board. The military constructed this new agency in such a way that uniformed people would be dominant, but President Roosevelt rejected the idea. As the president got increased funding from Congress in the summer and fall of 1941, Nelson's Board began in August 1941 (effective November 30 that year) to reduce production for civilian goods. Automobiles were the first to be cut back.80 On October 9 nonessential building and construction was stopped so that the Board could allocate building materials to war plant construction. On October 21 manufacturers were told to stop using copper in almost all civilian products. The Board sharply limited the production of refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, metal office furniture, and other nonessential products.81 On Pearl Harbor Day, Nelson and other principals from the Supply Priorities and


Allocations Board agreed that complete conversion of the automobile manufacturing industry was the "first and biggest item" on their agenda.82

In the end, the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board failed to solve the mobilization problem too. Adding it to the Office of Production Management in many respects made decision-making more difficult than it had been previously, but the bigger obstacle was getting decisions once made to stick without further appeal to department secretaries and, ultimately, the president. This difficulty was not solved until May 1943, and only then because Roosevelt allowed it to be solved. Herman Somers wrote: "From the beginning, the ever resounding demand for reform centered around the absence of coordination, centralized authority, and central policy-making--all facets of the same problem. . . ."83 Unfortunately the War Production Board was to suffer from the same fatal flaw.

The War Production Board

Roosevelt tapped Nelson to be Chairman of the War Production Board in mid-January 1942, because probably nobody had a better background--having been, for more than a decade, the chief merchandising executive of the world's largest distributing firm, Sears. Perhaps nobody in America knew better where almost everything in the United States was manufactured, "how much and how well."84 Nelson was given a charter by the president to draft the executive order that would establish his new organization,85 and Roosevelt set the tone nationally in an address to the country on January 6, 1942:

The superiority of the United States in munitions and ships must be . . . so overwhelming that the Axis nations can never hope to catch up with it . . . to attain this overwhelming superiority, the United States must build planes and tanks and guns and ships


to the utmost of our national capacity. We have the ability and capacity to produce arms not only for our own armed forces, but also for the armies, navies and air forces fighting on our side. . . .

Only this all-out scale production will hasten the ultimate all-out victory . . . Lost ground can always be regained--lost time, never. Speed will save lives; speed will save this nation which is in peril; speed will save our freedom and civilization . . . 86

Roosevelt's Executive Order establishing the War Production Board on January 16, 1942, granted Nelson as Chairman broad powers: to exercise general direction over the war procurement and production programs; to determine policies, plans, procedures and methods of the several federal departments and agencies in regard to war production and procurement; to grant priorities for construction; and to allocate vital materials and production facilities. And while Nelson was the "Chairman" of the War Production Board, the rest of the Board only existed to advise him.87 Nelson planned to limit himself to filling the materiel requests of those responsible for formulating grand strategy. If the services' plans called for a specified quantity of a system that industry could not produce, however, Nelson would inform the leaders.88

This Board grew into a bureaucracy of 20,000 people,89 and it remained in existence into the post-war period under another name (Civilian Production Administration). Although the media pronounced Nelson the "arms czar" and "dictator of the economy" and "the man who had to tackle the biggest job in all history" Nelson's


authority was severely diluted by the creation of the Office of War Mobilization in May 1943. Roosevelt did not give Nelson the support he needed to succeed. Nelson was not strong enough to demand both the president's support and noninterference from competing agencies (especially the Army and Navy), and he refused to seize all of the levers of power he needed in order to flourish.90

There were two parts to the job--first, to build up materiel production, and second, where production could not be built quickly enough, to divide the shortages so that the least important elements would receive the least support. There were three basic problems that occupied Nelson and his staff throughout the war as they fought to increase production: (1) supplying raw materials from which the war materiel and essential civilian products were made, (2) providing the plants and equipment in the factories to manufacture the tools of war, (3) staffing the plants with enough people with the right skills. "There was never a time" during World War II "when material supplies, plant facilities, and manpower were in perfect balance.91

Nelson, having inherited the people and the organization of the Office of Production Management, Supply Priorities and Allocations Board, and even the National Defense Advisory Committee, organized the War Production Board in similar fashion. Sidney Hilman, for example was chief of Labor Division, the Production Division was put under William H. Harrison, a vice president at American Telephone & Telegraph, the Industry Operations Division was under James S. Knowlton, president and chief executive officer of SKF Industries; the Statistics Division was run by Stacy May, etc.92 The Board also had divisions responsible for monitoring specific war industries and also had large numbers of people in the geographic regions of


the country collecting data, providing advice, assisting plants, negotiating contracts, etc.93

If America was to become the Arsenal of Democracy, it had first to convert its civilian-based industry to the task of producing war materiel, and the main industry to be converted was automobile manufacturing. This American enterprise was equal to the total industry of most of the countries in the world. In America the automobile industry, was spread over 44 states and 1,375 cities. The primary contractors numbered more than 1,000 and there were tens of thousands of sub-contractors. More than 500,000 workers produced autos and trucks when the United States entered the war--one out of every 260 Americans.And 7 million others--one out of every 19 Americans--were indirectly employed in the industry. Automobiles consumed 51 percent of the country's annual production of malleable iron, 75 percent of plate glass, 68 percent of upholstered leather, 80 percent of rubber, 34 percent of lead, 13 percent of copper, and about 10 percent of aluminum. One of Nelson's first orders was to cut off car production, and the last automobile to come off the production line during World War II did so on February 10, 1942. This move was essential because during the war automobile manufacturers produced more than 50 percent of all aircraft engines, 33 percent of all machine guns, 80 percent of all tanks and tank parts, one half the diesel engines, and 100 percent of the trucks the Army moved on. This industry also produced airplanes by the tens of thousands. Most of the B-24s, the most heavily produced airplane in the United States inventory, were manufactured by what had been the automobile industry and most of those were manufactured at one factory, Willow Run. About 20 percent of total United States munitions production came from the automobile industry.94 It manufactured


455,522 of a total of 812,615 aircraft engines and 255,518 of a total of 713,717 propellers. The industry also produced 27,000 complete aircraft.95

Of course more than the automotive industry converted to war, and one of the most striking examples is International Silver, which at the beginning of the war made tableware. By the end of the war this medium-sized firm was producing surgical instruments, Browning automatic rifles, 20mm shells, cartridge and shell brass for many calibers of weapons, machine gun clips and cartridge belts, magnesium bombs, gasoline bombs (3 million of them monthly at peak production), adapter casings, combination tools, large and small rotors, contact rings, spring assemblies, forgings, connecting rods, trigger pins, lick bolts for all pins, flange and tube assemblies, front sight forgings for guns, etc.96

In addition to the shortages of time, plants, materials, and people, the War Production Board also suffered from unrealistic demands by the president, the Secretaries of War and Navy and various service chiefs. Through 1942 and 1943, the grand strategists set goals that were well above what could actually be produced given the status of American industry. In time the output was prodigious, growing almost geometrically into 1944. But, in the first 2 years of effort, the overestimation of capacity by those not responsible for producing materiel was frustrating to those called on to produce it.97

Almost from the start, because the president and warrior chiefs expected more production than the Board seemed to be able to deliver, there was dissatisfaction with the War Production Board and with Chairman Nelson. Nelson's sharpest present day critic is Paul Koistinen who argues that Nelson faced three tests at the outset if he wanted to achieve dominance over the wartime economy, and he failed all of them. He needed to get "tough with the industrialists who were coming to" his new organization from the Office of War Production and the Supply Priorities and Allocations Board. These businessmen, to Koistinen, were more eager to protect their narrow interests than to "harness the economy for war." Nelson, to win, also


had to "bend the military which had grown powerful and practically independent to the board's will." Many commentators agree with Koistinen's first two points. His third is that Nelson should have given "labor, New Dealers, and small business a meaningful voice in mobilization matters so that the" War Production Board "involved broad-based, not simply big business, planning, and thus tapped the nation's full economic potential." Koistinen's criticism of the entire mobilization effort is slanted in this direction, and this third argument does not find resonance.98

Harry S Truman's Special Senate Committee Investigating National Defense reported, about a year "after the Board was established, that Nelson, with the expressed powers Roosevelt granted him, could have "taken over all military procurement," but he chose not to do so. Truman's committee argued that had Nelson indeed taken procurement from the Army and Navy "many of the difficulties with which he has been confronted in recent months might never have arisen. Instead, Nelson delegated most of his powers to the War and Navy Departments, and to a succession of so-called czars. This made it difficult for him to exercise the functions for which he was appointed. At the same time, none of the separate agencies had


sufficient authority to act alone."99 Other commentators agree that Nelson's Board was fatally undermined within in its first trimester by voluntarily yielding "to the Armed Services both priorities power and the right to clear military contracts before the contracts were let to suppliers." With General Administrative Orders 2-23 and 2-33 in March and April 1942 Nelson "surrendered direct decision-making authority over the great bulk of the finished output needed for war."100 This was costly to the power of his influence and his freedom of action.

There were plants that the War Department ordered built that were superfluous, and given the limited amount of materials and construction workers, a surplus in one area meant a shortage in another. Many new factories and many expanded ones were not needed, Harold Vatter argues. Locomotive plants went into tank production, "when locomotives were more necessary" than tanks. Truck plants "began to produce airplanes," which produced "shortages of trucks later on.101 Alan Milward makes a similar point, and


bases his criticism on the lack of firm priorities. "Completely new factories," he writes, "were built with government help when there was no possibility that they would ever get the necessary raw materials to sustain their planned production."102

One should not, however, make the mistake of believing that the War Production Board was impotent. It had the power to compel acceptance of war orders by any producer in the country, and it could requisition any property needed for the war effort.103 And Nelson's Board also controlled the supply of raw materials.

The Controlled Materials Plan

Nelson's major task, as it turned out, was the administration of the Controlled Materials Plan--the allocation of raw materials to the specific industries that produced the weapons systems. Nelson wrote, in an over simplification, that war production could be broken down into three sections, only one of which was truly his. First was establishing requirements. The president and the joint chiefs and the combined chiefs determined the requirements, and the War Production Board translated those decisions into production requisites. Once that was known, the Board had to decide how much of what systems the economy was capable of producing. And with that known, how to balance resources against demands. Everything could not be produced at once, raw materials had to be carefully apportioned because to overproduce one munition would mean that another would be under produced.104 To ensure that production was tightly balanced, the War Production Board centralized control of raw materials. To ensure that the British were operating under the same plans as the Americans, Roosevelt established a Combined Raw Materials Board in late January 1942.105


The Controlled Materials Plan replaced the Production Requirements Plan (a November 1941 voluntary, program) which had permitted manufacturers at all levels to state production material requirements for government orders. The Controlled Materials Plan, administered by the Production Executive Committee, chaired by Charles E. Wilson of the War Production Board, was a "vertical allocation plan, under which allotments were made by programs and passed down through the chain from procurement agency [e.g., the armed services] to prime contractors to sub- and sub-sub-contractor, whereas in the [Production Requirements Plan] direct applications had been received from all levels in the subcontracting plan." The Controlled Materials Plan was a "more accurate" and "more equitable and more effective distribution of materials." It was announced on November 2, 1942 that it would become effective in the second quarter of 1943 and fully effective in the next quarter. It was certainly superior to the Army and Navy Munitions Board priorities system in rationalizing the distribution of materials.106


The Controlled Materials Plan was a method of forcing all consumers of raw materials to plan for themselves. No order for raw materials could be accepted until the Production Executive Committee had in hand an exact statement of raw materials requirements. The allocations were made quarterly and, for the first time in the war, the armed forces procurement agencies were forced to consider their future demands within the "context of long-term strategy."107 Controlled materials planning was a massive undertaking. Two streams of paper carried requirements and allotments information through the "interlocked industrial and governmental structure."

The first stream of paper, leading up the supply-demand balance for the total economy determined each calendar quarter by the War Production Board Requirements Committee, began at the lowest layer of manufacturing subcontractors. Bills of materials (detailed schedules of amounts of each contained material required to make one unit of a fabricated product) were transmitted up the manufacturing ladder to the assemblers of end products and other prime contractors. There they were accumulated, each prime contractor combining his own and his subcontractors' material requirements, and transmitted to the procuring claiming agency. From bill-of-material information and other sources, each claimant agency prepared estimates of controlled-materials requirements in total and by program detail and submitted the estimates to the [War Production Board] controlled-material branches (steel, copper, and aluminum) and the Requirements Committee staff. . . . The second stream of paper began at this point with the allotment of materials to each claimant agency representing its share of the anticipated supply of each controlled material available for purchase directly by the agency and by its prime and subcontractors. . . . the claimant agency distributed allotments (authorizations to purchase) to its prime contractors. The prime contractors retained that part of the allotments necessary to cover their own direct procurement from the metal mills and reallocated the remainder to their suppliers.108


Although the literature usually speaks of three raw materials in the Controlled Materials Plan--steel, copper, aluminum--there were actually 13 categories of carbon steel and 10 of steel alloy to be allocated separately, and 4 classes of copper-based alloy products, 3 classes of copper shapes, and wire mill and foundry products. Aluminum products came in 21 classes of shapes and alloys. But the revolutionary step in the Controlled Materials Plan was not in these refined allocations. It rested rather on the principle that the delivery of materials were "not affected by preference ratings." meaning once the Requirements Committee "determined the distribution of steel, copper and aluminum which in its judgment was best calculated to meet war, export, and essential civilian needs, all approved programs had equal validity.109

To the War Production Board, that is. Certainly the War and Navy Departments (and other claimants like Lend-Lease Administration, Maritime Commission, Office of Civilian Supply, and even other agencies later in the war) did not think that all approved programs had "equal validity." At times different systems had higher priorities, like the necessity of accelerating the building of landing craft in 1942 and 1943, and especially in the first half of 1944 for Operation OVERLORD and amphibious assaults in the Pacific.110 The Controlled Materials Plan forced a strict accounting on all users of steel, copper and aluminum, but the key civilian agency turned over most of these precious materials to the military for their further allocation based on grand strategy.

The Controlled Materials Plan solved a nagging problem--controlling


what was built and when by releasing or withholding raw materials--but it consumed many thousands of people and much time. Nelson was in the sorry position of simply not being able to satisfy everybody all the time. "He was battered, abused, and cajoled by other agencies" of the government. Instead of being the interwar planners ideal of a wise man surveying the war from an unmatched viewpoint and apportioning economic strength where it would do the most good, he was thoroughly inside the turbulent milieu.111

Nelson's biggest difficulty was Roosevelt's unwillingness to support him in his inevitable disputes with the plethora of wartime agencies the president created to deal with the emergency and his continued willingness to create potentially rival agencies. There were powerful prewar New Deal agencies like the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (which added to its authority the Defense Plant Corporation, Defense Supplies Corporation, Metals Reserve Company, and Rubber Reserve Company) whose role might conflict with Nelson's Board. And there were venerable institutions like the War and Navy Department that had been created in the 18th and 19th centuries which also might see activities of the War Production Board as usurping their authority. Many other war agencies were founded before the War Production Board--like the Board of Economic Warfare, the Office of Lend-Lease (with the powerful Harry Hopkins in charge initially), and the Office of Defense Transportation that had charters that overlapped Nelson's. Other agencies founded after Nelson's like the Petroleum Administration for War, Rubber Development Corporation, War Manpower Commission and dozens of others had charters that seemed to authorize powers that the War Production Board also possessed. He willingly gave away rationing authority, to the Office of Price Administration. Probably his most serious lapse (other than permitting the services to procure their own munitions) was permitting the War Manpower Commission to be independent of him. This agency, created on April 18, 1942 to "assure the most effective mobilization and maximum utilization of the Nation's manpower in the prosecution of the war," was offered to him by Roosevelt. However, Nelson permitted it to be independent.


Manpower was a constant bottleneck during the war.112 All of this might have been manageable if Roosevelt were a manager, which he was not; if he had appointed a person to run the War Production Board whom he trusted explicitly, which he did not; or if Nelson were more attuned to bureaucratic ways, which he, apparently, was not. Nelson was doomed, and, of course, the industrial mobilization effort suffered.

The military never saw itself as Nelson's partner, and involved itself in "every facet of the home front war program." When there was a problem such as with deliveries of finished goods the military would intrude in the transportation business. If there was a labor problem, manufacturers would turn to the military rather than to the War Labor Board to solve it--turning to the agency paying the bills. It was easy to turn to the military to solve problems in time of a total war. It might not have been wise over the long term, or even efficient, but it was easy because the military had enormous prestige and power. Because the military did not want to yield procurement to the War Production Board, it naturally accepted Nelson's abdication in these areas, enabling it to outmaneuver the Chairman.113

Philosophical differences also marred the relationship. Nelson's concern for the civilian population--those who worked in the factories and operated the farms--was interpreted by some in the Army as "pampering" civilians. Nelson complained about "bitter fights" with the Army over manufacturing tractors or spare parts for cars, washing machines, refrigerators, etc.114 Nelson, from the beginning of the war well into the peace that followed, insisted that the economy had to be controlled by civilians. He argued that "military men are bound to place above everything else the needs of specific munitions programs." If they did gain complete authority over the country's resources, Nelson maintained, they "would inevitably produce disorder, and eventually balk their own efforts by undercutting the economy in such a way that it could not meet their demands." His


running battle got into the press, much to his chagrin. "The Army had at its disposal and freely used many unfair methods of meddling [with] anyone who stood in its way . . . Very soon after I had made, and stuck to" the decision on making spare parts for appliances and automobiles United States factories were no longer producing in order to keep these labor saving machines in some working order, "articles began appearing in the press stating that 1,500 plants making munitions of war were going to have to shut down because they could not get materials. War Department officials in high places were feeding out those [false] stories."115

Students of the period generally agree that the Army wanted control of the economy--something it had desired from the moment it began planning for industrial mobilization, and a root reason for opening the Army Industrial College. Herman Somers notes that, soon after the War Production Board was formed, General Brehon Somervell, chief of the Army's Services of Supply made a play to put the new Board under the control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Somers writes: "The Army and Navy came to regard Nelson and the [War Production Board] as advocates of a comfortable civilian economy, which would resist to the end curtailments to expand military production."116 We have seen, however, that Nelson wanted to convert the automobile industry to munitions production well before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and that his first action as chairman was to do just that.

In addition to leaving military procurement to the Navy and


War Departments, Roosevelt did not give Nelson the authority or the tools to control inflation, which increased as the large pool of unemployed dried up. In September 1942, Roosevelt asked Congress for the powers necessary to fix all wages and prices. Congress yielded on October 2, granting the president the authority to issue a "general order stabilizing prices, wages, and salaries affecting the cost of living," and empowering the president to create the office of Economic Stabilization. On October 3, 1942, Roosevelt appointed James F. Byrnes, the ultimate insider, Director.

Byrnes quickly resigned from the Supreme Court and began his new job on October 15. He had blanket authority "relating to control of civilian purchasing power, prices, rents, wages, salaries, profits, subsidies, and all related matters." The Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization was to be the final judge of any jurisdictional disputes among the various wartime agencies and within the president's executive office regarding economic policy. Byrnes was to the civilian economic strategy what Roosevelt was to the war's grand strategy. Very significantly, Byrnes was able to set up his office in the White House. Roosevelt told Byrnes: "Your decision is my decision, and . . . there is no appeal. For all practical purposes you will be the Assistant President."117 Had he said that to Nelson, the War Production Board might have turned out to be the supreme mobilization agency that the interwar planners called for. Might have rather than would have because it is not clear that Nelson's personality was up to using such a full grant of authority. Herman M. Somers argues that Nelson, a man of "great abilities and character" was "probably not temperamentally suited to the onerous job he undertook. "He was mild mannered and intellectual, not given to quick decisions. He was not adept at and did not welcome the "infighting" or the


power struggles involved in high administration" jobs for "high stakes." Somers concludes that Donald M. Nelson was "too nice a guy for the job."118

The dispute between the Army and Nelson that finally drove him out of office was industrial reconversion. Reconversion has always been handled badly in the United States, and the fact that the Woodrow Wilson administration mishandled it in the late teens (causing heightened unemployment) cost the Democrats control of the Congress and White House in 1920. Nelson wanted to begin reconverting industry as soon as feasible and many in Congress were eager to have factories in their districts and states reconvert too. Nelson directed one of his key assistants to study reconversion in April 1943, and made clear that he intended to move into this controversial area. War production peaked in November 1943, although for some items, like airplanes, 1944 was a bigger year. There was a sharp decline in war orders. But the Army wanted no reconversion of industry, because it might lead to a slackening of the war effort. The Army would have been happy if there were pools of unemployed workers forced to stay in war industries, and unable to opt for better paying or more secure jobs in factories producing for the civilian market. Harry S Truman was on record calling for "an orderly resumption of civilian production in areas where there is not manpower shortage and with materials not required for war production."

But the Army was powerful, and some business leaders also fought reconversion because they were tied to war production and did not want competitors to get a leg up in the potential market. Nelson began to reconvert slowly, and the Army forced his removal in the summer of 1944.119 By the time Roosevelt sent Nelson to China on assignment to get him out of town, the president had already appointed an agency that superseded the War Production Board: the Office of War Mobilization, May 27, 1944--the last of the series that began with the with the War Resources Board in August 1939. Significantly, the president installed James F. Byrnes to run this new organization.


The Office of War Mobilization (And Conversion)

The president was being pushed to establish a war mobilization office by Senator Harry Truman and his committee. Truman's committee and other congressional investigative committees were dismayed by the lack of unity in the industrial effort and demanded a single civilian-directed procurement agency for all Army, Navy, Maritime Commission, and Lend-Lease needs. Truman knew that Nelson had much more authority than he exercised and therefore called for a War Mobilization Board--stating that he would create one by legislation if Roosevelt did not take the initiative.120 Other efforts also forced the establishment of the Office of War Mobilization.121 For its part, the Senate Military Affairs Committee recognized the weaknesses in the War Production Board. There were too many agencies with a say in too many parts of the economy for efficiency. The press was also onto this failing and were vocal in their criticism. Roosevelt either sensed the pressure or understood the necessity, or both, and created by Executive Order the new office, designating a handful of government officials as advisers (Nelson was one of the five), and chartered the Office of War Mobilization to "develop unified programs and to establish policies for the maximum use of the Nation's natural and industrial resources for military and civilian needs, for the effective use of the national manpower not in the armed forces, for the maintenance and stabilization of the civilian economy, and for the adjustment of such economy to


war needs and conditions." The key to the Executive Order was in this sentence: "To unify the activities of the Federal agencies and departments engaged in or concerned with production, procurement, distribution or transportation or military or civilian supplies, materials, and products and to resolve and determine controversies between such agencies or departments." The new office could issue "directives and policies" to carry out its charter, and "it shall be the duty of all such agencies and departments to execute these directives, and to make to the Office of War Mobilization such progress reports as may be required."122 James F. Byrnes, the first Director of the Office drafted the Executive Order and wrote the language to make the new agency effective. From the start he was called Assistant President. The only things missing in James Byrnes portfolio were foreign affairs and military grand strategy.123

By 1943, Byrnes had become immersed in economic planning. As Director of the Office of Economic Stabilization he was intimately concerned with all major segments of the economy because his office was charged with eliminating inflation. No similar office had been established during World War I, and as a result consumer prices rose and the national debt ballooned. The Office of Economic Stabilization was not able to eliminate inflation, but it did dampen it and in the process Byrnes learned a great deal about the economy and how segments of it--agriculture, industry, etc.--worked to profit or benefit their narrow interests rather than the general welfare.124


Byrnes' powers were extensive. The Executive Order establishing the Office of Economic Stabilization permitted him:

to formulate and develop a comprehensive national economic policy relating to the control of civilian purchasing power, prices, rents, wages, salaries, profits, rationing subsidies, and all related matters--all for the purpose of preventing avoidable increases in the cost of living, cooperating in minimizing the unnecessary migration from one business, industry or region to another, and facilitating the prosecution of the war. To give effect to this comprehensive national economic policy the Director shall have power to issue directives on policy to the Federal departments and agencies concerned.125

Interestingly, the Office of Economic Stabilization did not disappear with the creation of the Office of War Mobilization. Fred M. Vinson, a former congressman and appeals judge (and later Chief Justice) replaced Byrnes and his office was subordinate to Byrnes' new one. (Vinson eventually became Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, its new title after October 1944.) The arrangement worked well because the men knew each other, had worked together in the past, and Vinson clearly understood Byrnes' relationship with the president.126

Soon after taking office, Byrnes wrote to the chiefs of all the procuring agencies and pointed out his duties as prescribed by the


president. He put everybody on notice that he intended to scrutinize all procurement. He called for establishing within and at the top of each agency a procurement review board that would include a representative of the Office of War Mobilization. Some offices, notably Lend-Lease and the Maritime Commission did so immediately, but the Army had to be told a second time and the Navy only did what it was told when the president insisted they follow orders. The Navy dragged its feet for months trying to subvert Byrnes' authority. Byrnes wrote the president that General George C. Marshall was cooperating and that billions of dollars were saved through this cooperation, but that the Navy was recalcitrant. The Navy, counting on its special relationship with Roosevelt, tried to go around Byrnes, but the President forwarded their memoranda to Byrnes for answering.127

The Office of War Mobilization, also located in the White House, was certainly in a position by fiat and personality to rationalize industrial mobilization. Byrnes was indeed "assistant president" and more powerful than any cabinet member, for he had jurisdiction over all agencies, bureaus and departments.128 But what should be its role vis-a-vis the Joint Chiefs? Some in Byrnes' office thought that he should sit with the Joint Chiefs of Staff so that grand strategy and procurement would be harmonized. But the services, especially the Navy, resisted civilian participation in military, affairs, especially war planning. There was established within the Joint Chiefs of Staff a Joint Production Survey Committee with representation from the Office of War Mobilization, a compromise between full integration of procurement and military strategy. Previous to that time Nelson's War Production Board was not represented on Joint Chiefs of Staff committees. Byrnes did not consider his relationship with the Joint Chiefs to be satisfactory. The Chiefs still wanted a great deal of the say regarding industrial mobilization. But Byrnes was able to establish his authority over the Joint Chiefs on matters of supply, although doing so was not easy.129

He did this by informing the Chiefs at the outset that he and


the Office of War Mobilization were responsible for the balance that must be maintained between civilian and military production, and, therefore, he had to know what was being procured by the services. Moreover, he had to know that the amounts being procured were not excessive. Byrnes, for example, set up a procurement review board for the Army which found that it needed some testimony concerning military matters. The Army refused to show any such data to civilians, and Byrnes told the Chief of Staff that he would take the Army's refusal to cooperate to the president. The Army gave in.130

Prior to the creation of the Office of War Mobilization there was no synchronizing of grand strategy and production. And although the new Office was an imperfect mechanism for effecting this synchronization, it did have the president behind it and Byrnes' extensive experience, keen intelligence, and high common sense. The problem was the active competition for limited resources that kept agencies in permanent conflict. Byrnes' approach was to exercise control by listening to arguments from disputing agencies after conflicts had developed and make the necessary decisions. This is, more or less, the role the industrial mobilization plans had reserved for the War Resources Administrator, except that the planners hoped that this bureaucrat would resolve conflicts before they occurred. Byrnes did not need a big staff to do that job, and in fact kept his staff tiny (10 initially, 16 in November 1944, 80 in June 1945 and 146 in May 1946 during the height of reconversion, compared with 20,000 in the War Production Board).131 He used the staff of the various agencies to provide him the information he needed. Byrnes deliberately safeguarded the autonomy of the agencies he dealt with, acting as a disinterested decision-maker--a judge in effect.132 Moving the decision-making power to the Office of War Mobilization diminished Nelson's authority and prestige and also that of the War Production Board. There was only one authority higher than Byrnes--Roosevelt--and the president was adamant that


Byrnes' decisions would stick. Even the War Department "tended to accept" Byrnes' decisions as final, and he was able to stop "the military agencies practice of looking to the Joint Chiefs of Staff for ultimate procurement decisions."133 Roosevelt loved it! He told a friend that "since appointing Jimmy Byrnes to [the Office of War Mobilization] he, for the first time since the war began, had the leisure 'to sit down and think.'"134

Byrnes took on the dispute with the Joint Chiefs that had caused Nelson to be fired: reconversion. As a politician who was painfully aware of the costs to his party for failing to implement an ordered demobilization after World War I, he was sensitive to the demand. His aim, and that of civilians in the war agencies, was to prevent unemployment and severe industrial dislocation with the ending of war production. Almost all agreed on the objective, but timing was everything. For at least 18 months before the end of the war in Europe, a large proportion of Byrnes' time and that of people in numerous agencies like the War Production Board was devoted to



the problem of reconverting industry. Two actions were involved: advance planning for the change-over that would occur after victory, and a gradual resumption of peacetime enterprise while the war was still going on.135

Some aspects of demobilization planning came easily, like agreement


on how to clear away government property and how to settle cancelled contracts. "The sharp policy questions . . . were over how much, if any, resumption of normal civilian activity" could be undertaken with the war going on. "The heat engendered caused a greater wave of name-calling in Washington than any other conflict." Nelson and his supporters were accused of being willing to prolong the war to give business interests an early advantage. Big business lined up on both sides of the issue, so did government agencies and even people in the War Production Board. Where people stood on the issue depended on where they sat. For example the War Manpower Commission sided with the military because manpower was so tight--it was the major bottleneck by the time this issue became prominent. It wanted no freedom for workers to opt for civilian products employment while there were still landing craft and other tools of war to be built. The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion was "indispensable" in adjudicating this issue because it was above all of the competing agencies and departments, and when it made reconversion decisions, it was "never seriously challenged." In August 1944, it sanctioned limited reconversion--which it slowed dramatically in December 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, but it reopened the gates in March 1945. "From early 1944 to the end no agency made any policy decisions in the reconversion field without clearing with [the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion]."136

Make no mistake, however, reconversion was not a factor until munitions production actually peaked. The unremitting drive was for output, and the system produced arms prodigiously.

United States Production in World War II

No matter where one looks, one finds very impressive American production statistics throughout World War II. The war on the ground in Europe was often tank warfare. Between 1918 and 1933 the United States produced only 35 tanks and no two of them the


same model. In 1940, after witnessing Germany's Blitzkrieg in Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, the United States produced 3,309 tanks, versus 1,400 in Britain and 1,450 in Germany. In 1943, however, the United States manufactured 29,500 tanks, more in one year than Germany produced in the entire war from 1939 to 1945. In all, the United States manufactured 88,430 tanks during World War II versus 24,800 in Britain and 24,050 in Germany.137

Consider also aircraft. In 1940 the United States had 41 engine and propeller plants; by 1943 it had 81 plants, with 5 built in Canada with U.S. funds (most of the 40 new factories were of considerably larger size). Aircraft production floor space increased from 13 million square feet in the prewar period, to more than 167 million square feet in 1943, and the value of the facilities mushroomed from $114 million prewar to almost $4 billion in 1944. In 1939 the United States produced 5,865 aircraft valued at about $280 million, and in 1944 America produced 96,379 airplanes valued at almost $17 billion. The dollar figure is deceiving because during the war the costs of manufacturing aircraft dropped. At the beginning of the war a four-engine, long range bomber cost $15.18 per pound and at the end $4.82 per pound. A single seat fighter cost at the outset $7.41 per pound and $5.37 at the end. Between January 1, 1940 and August 14, 1945 the United States manufactured 303,717 and between December 7, 1941 and the Japanese surrender, 274,941. And the power, weight and speed of the aircraft by the end of the war had dramatically increased. The United States produced 97,810 bombers, Germany 18,235, and the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union produced more than Germany too. The United States produced 99,950 fighters, Germany 53,727, and American fighters were longer ranged, better armed and better armored (after 1943). The United States produced 1.6 times as many aircraft (heavier and longer


ranged) than Germany, Italy and,Japan combined. The Soviet Union produced more aircraft than Germany, and the United Kingdom slightly less. Both United States allies consumed millions of tons of American raw materials through Lend-Lease to build aircraft.138

Despite such output, there was no production "miracle" in the United States during World War II. Unquestionably, munitions production expanded greatly but the base the expanded production was measured from was a depressed one. Compare for example the period 1941 to 1945 with another period of rapid industrial expansion, peacetime at that, 1921 to 1925. Total industrial production output peacetime increase was double that of wartime (53 percent versus 25 percent). If the period 1941 to 1944, when wartime production peaked and before it turned down, is compared with the period 1921 to 1924, the wartime figure is slightly higher (45 percent compared to 38 percent).139 How then did the United States produce the hundreds of thousands of airplanes, tens of thousands of tanks, and tens of thousands of landing craft if the output increase in the early 1940s was no greater than it had been in the early 1920s? The answer is twofold: massive conversion of the industrial base and generous government funding for infrastructure construction.

In 1939 the United States devoted less than 2 percent of its national output to war, and about 70 percent to satisfying immediate civilian wants. The rest went to civilian government expenditures, private capital formation and exports. By 1944 the war outlays were 40 percent of national output. Industrial production doubled from


1939 to 1945 (but 1939 was still a depression year), and production did increase at the rate of 15 percent per year (more than double the World War I rate). Manufacturing employment increased from 10,151,000 in 1939 to 16,558,000 in 1944, and the percentage of the work force involved in manufacturing increased from 19 percent to 26 percent.140 Agricultural employment fell from 9,450,000 in 1940 to 8,950,000 in 1944, while people in non-agricultural industries went from 37,980,000 in 1940 to 45,010,000 in 1944. Most of the increase came from sopping up unemployment (which was 8,120,000 in 1940 and only 670,000 in 1944) and employing more women.141

As we shall see in the next section, the United States' output in gross figures is impressive, but all belligerents produced munitions at a furious pace. There is no denying that United States logistics capabilities were a major (probably the major) reason for the allied victory. But the relative output must be kept in perspective. The United States was unquestionably productive and out-produced all its allies and adversaries, but it started from a higher technological base than all other combatants. Its wartime increase in productivity was not impressive by comparison to others. But, and let there be no doubt here, it was enough!142

One great advantage the United States had over Germany (which at the beginning of the war had procured in the previous four years a volume of combat munitions equal in real terms to the munitions productions of all her future adversaries combined143) was that the former planned for a long war. Conversion of industry alone would not have produced all the munitions needed, new factories


had to be built and old ones modified. It was essential, therefore, for the government to expend scarce materials, machinery and manpower on building and expanding war plants at the expense even of current production. In 1940 about $2 billion was spent on factory construction, more than $4 billion the next year, and almost $8.5 billion in 1942. After the third quarter of 1942 the trend was downward for the rest of the war.144

Balancing Military and Civilian Needs

Great as the output was, the United States war effort absorbed about 40 percent of the gross national product, which grew 50 percent in constant dollars between 1939 and 1944. The United States devoted a smaller percentage of its gross national product to the war than any other major adversary. There was also a major effort during the war to improve the lot of the population whenever possible. Automobile production was stopped and tires and gasoline were rationed, but the consumers could be compensated with soft goods and services. The War Production Board thought that the American people during the war were "subjected to inconvenience, rather than sacrifice."145 By comparison to the situation facing civilians in all other nations at war, it would be hard to argue with that assertion. At the height of the war the government spent $94 billion, and of that $81.6 or 87 percent was war spending. The budget was 80 times greater than in 1939, 54 times 1940 and 14 times 1941. But the budget expansion was such that civilians truly did not suffer because



of the war, and when one considers that unemployment had all but disappeared and what joblessness remained was usually only temporary, the home front prospered. In terms of calories people were generally fed better than they had been before the war, and they consumed more meat, shoes, clothing, and energy.146

Its population is always a country's greatest resource, and in a major mobilization like that of World War II, usually its greatest hindrance. The United Kingdom suffered a severe people



crunch--its population was the smallest of the major belligerents. Germany and the Soviet Union found themselves people limited too, in terms of productive population. The United States, as indicated below, was limited too in terms of manpower, although its population was larger than all the belligerents (including the Soviet Union soon after the German attack in June 1941) except for China, and its losses were much smaller than all the major adversaries who remained in the war.

The American manpower problem was exacerbated by the number of agencies involved in allocating this crucial resource. The War Manpower Commission was created by executive order by the president on April 18, 1942 as a policy making agency, but the Selective Service System, which drafted more than 10 million people, was completely independent of the War Manpower Commission. In January 1943 the War Manpower Commission lost control of the agricultural





labor supply to the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Civil Service Commission recruited independently for the vastly increased responsibilities of the federal government. In time railroad workers and sailors in the merchant marine were also independent of the War Manpower Commission's authority, and, of course, all of these agencies were independent of each other. When the manpower situation became desperate in 1943 and 1944, with superfluous people in selected industries or on farms clinging to draft deferments, it took the power of the Office of War Mobilization to solve the dilemma. There was, for example, an urgent manpower problem on the West Coast where much of the United States' shipbuilding and airplane manufacturing was located. By June 1943, one-third of the shipbuilding yards on the West Coast were behind schedule, and there was a shortage of workers in every


production center. It took about a year for the Office of War Mobilization to implement a policy restricting the freedom of workers to move where they wanted to take advantage of better wages or working conditions, and to moderate the rights of employers to hire whomever they wanted whenever they wanted. The division of responsibility for making manpower decisions harmed the war effort, and only when a supreme judge was added at the top of the apparatus, could problems be solved.147 The manpower demand was relentless. The United States had in its armed forces in mid-1945, more than 12 million people, more than 98 percent men. However, during the war the United States had mobilized more than 16 million for the military. More than 400,000 died or were missing in action, several times that number were wounded and many of that total were invalided out, and a great number were discharged before the war ended for a variety of reasons. To reach the number who served, about 45 million men were registered for the draft, and 31 million of these were found physically and mentally qualified to serve. About 10 million were drafted, with many additional millions being allowed to enlist. Voluntary enlistments, where one chose the service one wished to join, stopped in 1943 (although one could apply and be accepted to the officer accession programs). It would be hard to argue with Jerome Peppers who states that "we used our manpower unwisely and could have been in serious manning problems in war production and military service had the war not gone so well for us. Fortunately . . . the war ended before our unwise manpower . . . policies could return to bite us. . . . we really had no effective plan for the full scale manpower mobilization which was required."148

There were many draft deferments for individuals in both agriculture and "essential" war industries that were jealously guarded by those who held them. Many others had deferments too: civil servants, hardship cases, religious officials, aliens, conscientious objectors, handicapped people, etc. Too many men had deferments when the crunch came in 1943 and 1944, but when the War Manpower Commission on February 1, 1943 issued a list of "non-deferrable" occupations


and called on draft boards to reclassify such people as category 1-A and available to the armed forces, the draft boards refused to obey. The Commission, demonstrating its impotence, withdrew the order in December that year. Byrnes was more effective, and in December 1944 issued what came to be known as his "Work or Fight Order" to use the Selective Service System to drive men either into essential jobs that were unpopular, or into the service. Byrnes wanted to call into the services men under age 38 who left essential industries, or who changed jobs in a necessary industry without the authority of the local draft board. He got his way, but few men were affected--fewer than 50,000--probably because the threat of such a possibility kept people working where the government needed them. Some men who refused to work where needed ended up in special Army labor camps doing necessary work but under punitive conditions. Such frankly threatening measures as these were not popular and also not terribly effective, and Byrnes called from late 1943 until the end of the war for national service legislation. Roosevelt included an appeal for such laws in his state of the union addresses in 1944 and 1945, and Byrnes tried to work his magic on the Congress, but to no avail--such legislation never passed.149 To give the reader one example of the Congress frustrating the president and his "assistant president," consider the fight to draft superfluous farm workers. In November 1942, Congress amended the Selective Service Act to defer essential farm workers unless satisfactory replacement workers could be found. Local draft boards interpreted this to mean a "virtual universal deferment for agricultural workers." By 1944 this practice reached "scandal" proportions. Men were needed as warriors, and certain industries were crying for men, but some industrial workers "trying to avoid the draft were transferring to agricultural work for refuge, while agricultural workers could not be persuaded to turn to the higher remuneration of industrial work for fear of losing deferred status." The farm block in Congress opposed any change to this situation. By January 1945 the only remaining pool of men in the right age category were the 364,000 people holding agricultural deferments. Byrnes appealed to Roosevelt, who authorized reclassification of farm workers. The Congress



passed a bill in both houses to amend the selective service legislation to defer all registrants engaged in agriculture. This bill was vetoed by President Harry S Truman only days before V-E Day.150

Overcoming Raw Material Scarcities

People were not the only shortage, of course, there were numerous other scarcities that hampered the production and war



effort. In the beginning of the production process, of course, are raw materials. Although the United States was rich in minerals, the amount being produced in 1940 was a fraction of what was needed, and some raw materials were not available at all--rubber for example.

When the war with Japan began, the United States was virtually cut off from essential natural rubber supplies. A whole new synthetic rubber industry was created from the ground up to help the war effort. First, the government created a synthetic rubber industry. Second, output from rubber producing areas still accessible to the United States was maximized. Third, the government eliminated rubber consumption of nonessential items and curtailed consumption on permitted items. Fourth, conservation measures were taken, such as gasoline rationing primarily designed to conserve rubber, and tire rationing to conserve material for the military. Fifth was expansion




[Millions of dollars]
  1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
TOTAL CONSTRUCTION 6,302 6,830 10,757 13,434 7,732 3.935 4,500
.....Total Public 2,411 2,574 5,442 10,669 6,114 2,353 1,985
.....Total Private 3,891 4,256 5,316 2,765 1,588 1,582 2,515

Military 119 337 1,756 5,060 2,423 720 515
.....Army 89 270 1,411 3,934 1,559 319 260
.....Navy 30 67 345 1,126 864 401 255

Industrial 241 569 2,028 3,806 2,198 982 1,280
.....Public 14 145 1,350 3,485 1,973 748 640
.....Private 227 424 678 321 225 234 640

Housing 2,483 2,560 3,360 1,895 1,318 691 735
.....Public 76 204 480 600 702 192 85
.....Private 2,407 2,356 2,880 1,295 616 499 650

Nonresidential bldg.1 1,267 937 971 460 230 275 550
.....Public 762 357 330 239 134 131 200
.....Private 505 562 641 221 96 144 350

Other Public 1,440 1,513 1,526 1,285 912 562 545
.....Highways 869 896 850 670 410 310 320
.....Conservation 318 323 356 356 244 142 110
.....Various2 253 289 320 259 258 110 115

Other Private 752 914 1,117 928 651 705 875
.....Farm 226 246 315 200 160 170 220
.....Utilities 526 668 802 728 491 535 655
Source: Wartime Production Achievements, p. 33.

1. Includes commercial, educational, religious, hospital, public administration, and miscellaneous buildings.
2.Includes sewer and water facilities and miscellaneous projects financed by State and local funds.


of reclaimed rubber production.151 When the United States declared war, the entire rubber stockpile in the United States was 540,000 tons. The United States consumed about 500,000 tons per year in its civilian economy. Rubber had to be conserved until the synthetic rubber plants could be built, and rubber was elevated to



a highest priority. In 1943 the new plants produced 234,000 tons and more than 800,000 tons in the final year of the war.152

Aluminum (needed especially for aircraft) was another priority raw material that was under-produced in the United States. In 1938 there was only a single United States producer of primary aluminum. This one producer also was the major aluminum fabricator, operating four bauxite reduction plants with an annual capacity of 300 million pounds. Secondary recovery only produced 100,000 pounds. When the wartime expansion program was completed, the country,



produced 2.3 billion pounds and secondary recovery increased six fold. As a result of this government financed construction, at the end of the war 42 percent of the world's aluminum manufacturing capacity was concentrated in the United States.153

Copper was also a major raw material problem and it became a true bottleneck. By the beginning of 1942, copper was a most critical need. Bullets and artillery shells, were the biggest requirement, but there were many other items, including wire, that demanded copper. Strenuous efforts were made to expand the mining,


smelting and refining facilities, and miners especially had to be induced to work in copper mines. Gold mining was virtually stopped to encourage miners to seek employment where they were needed. The Army even released 2,800 copper miners from active duty in 1942 to help. The government formed a Metals Reserve Company to buy up ore from neutral countries, and the Combined Raw Materials Board worked to allocate copper between the United States and the United Kingdom. Substitutes for copper were tried and employed whenever a replacement was feasible (aluminum wiring and fuses, zinc pennies, etc.).154

In some cases, the government did not turn to increased construction, but rather to conservation and better management. Electricity was a prime example. Aluminum and magnesium manufacturing and the Manhattan Project demanded vast increases in electricity. The demand for electricity in the country went from 16.3 billion kilowatt hours in 1939 to 279.5 billion in 1944. In the same period, generating capacity, of the country's power plants was allowed to increase only 26 percent, from 49.4 million to 62 million kilowatt hours. Yet at no time during the war was it necessary, to curtail power consumption because of insufficient supply. The United States ended the war with its lights burning and every machine fully powered and with power to spare. In 1942, construction on all but the most critically urgent generating plants was stopped. By then all of the country's power systems: private, municipal, county, state, and federal were essentially assembled into great operating pools. Power was allocated where it was needed by whatever power company, private or public, was most efficiently positioned to supply it. Federal regulations were waived; normal rules of competition were bent or eliminated; and integrated operating pools did the job without wasting time and money on unnecessary construction.155



Building Ships and Boats

Two products demanded the most investment in people, materials, and infrastructure, and both were equally key to the grand strategy: aircraft and ships. The production story on the latter is as spectacular a tale as the former. In 1941 the United States completed 1,906 ships and in 1944, 40,265 ships.156 The central tenet of the grand strategy was that the United States should be the "Arsenal of Democracy." But producing the munitions would have been useless if the United Slates could not move its armaments and supplies to its allies. Merchant-shipping production, therefore, was as critical



an aspect of the production program as any other, especially given Germany's attempt to starve American allies with the use of surface raiders, airplanes, and submarines. So critical is this aspect of the war production story that in the chapter of ship construction called "We Build Ships" in Donald Nelson's memoir, Nelson failed to mention aircraft carriers and battleships at all, and concentrated overwhelmingly on building merchants ships and landing craft, and, to a lesser degree, destroyer escorts. In the last half of 1943, the United States was completing 160 merchant ships per month, and in December that year there were 208 merchant ships completed for a total dead weight tonnage of 2,044,239 tons. In July 1942, it took 105 days to construct a Liberty ship; less than 1 year later it was just over 50 days; and before the end of the war it took 40 days from laying the keel to delivering (not launching) the ship. In World War I, a ship


two-thirds the size of a Liberty ship took 10 months to build.157 Of course more than cargo ships were built. From July 1, 1940 to July 31, 1945 the United States built 64,500 landing craft, and that number was still insufficient. Some 6,500 other naval vessels were also built. Navy firepower during the war increased ten told.158 The United States built 10 battleships during the war, 8 of them of 35,000 tons or more, and 17 large aircraft carriers (able to carry 100 aircraft and displacing more than 27,000 tons), and more than 80 smaller carriers (able to carry from 21 to 45 aircraft), 49 cruisers, and 368 destroyers.159

No country produced as many warships, cargo ships, airplanes, tanks, trucks, jeeps (650,000 of these "faithful as dog, as strong as a mule, and as agile as a goat" quarter-ton carrying vehicles),160 rifles, etc., as the United States. Where the allies produced about as many munitions as the Axis in mid-1941, by the end of 1944, the allied output of combat munitions was three times greater than that of their enemies. Over the war the allied output was 80 percent


Imports and Synthetic Production
Period Natural
1939: Long Tons Long Tons
   First quarter 113,884 (1)
   Second quarter 112,280 (1)
   Third quarter 113,646 (1)
   Fourth quarter 159,846 (1)
   First quarter 174,885 (1)
   Second quarter 176,160 (1)
   Third quarter 221,596 (1)
   Fourth quarter 245,983 (1)
   First quarter 247,929 1,466
   Second quarter 229,286 2,151
   Third quarter 206,772 2,445
   Fourth quarter 265,020 2,321
   First quarter 207,631 3,459
   Second quarter 45,735 5,221
   Third quarter 11,472 5,772
   Fourth quarter 17,815 8,032
   First quarter 19,962 10,486
   Second quarter 13,746 28,373
   Third quarter 9,035 71,217
   Fourth quarter 12,109 121,529
   First quarter 18,302 159,603
   Second quarter 29,516 198,905
   Third quarter 27,772 193,602
   Fourth quarter 32,114 210,520
   First quarter 45,267 227,865
   Second quarter 29,886 237,857
   Third quarter (est.) 27,416 222,966
   Fourth quarter (st.) 31,612 256,051
1. Not available
Source: Wartime Production Achievements, 92



greater than the total for the Axis, and most of that increase came from the United States.161

People Mobilization: "Rosie The Riveter"

No country kept a higher percentage of its labor force in armaments production and out of the fighting services than did the United States. In Germany 1 in 4.5 men were fighters and in Japan and the United Kingdom 1 in 5, but 1 in 6 in the United States. No other country expanded its civilian production as much as the United States. In fact our major allies severely contracted civilian production as did Germany after 1942. So rich was the United States that it could tolerate labor strikes. There were 3,000 labor strikes in



1942, and in 1943, the number of man-days lost to strikes increased threefold to 13.5 million lost man-days, and in 1944, the number of strikes increased (but fewer workers went out). By mid-August 1945, 9.6 million man-days had been lost in that year, which, had the war gone on, would have been the worst year of the war. Of course Germany and the Soviet Union had no similar problems, although Britain did abide strikes too. 162

Another useful comparison with the mobilization efforts of other belligerents is in the employment of women in industry. Rosie



the Riveter is a well-known icon in the United States, and many millions of women, indeed, were employed in the munitions industry. In early 1942, there were 19 million American women between the ages of 20 and 60 gainfully employed, and by the next year women made up a third of the aircraft production work force (almost a half million women).163 By July 1944, 36.9 percent of the workers in industries handling prime contracts were women.164 One author wrote that the "margin of victory, in terms of the nation's labor force


proved to be completely feminine." By October 1943 there were 164,700 women at work in the shipyards with comparable figures in other industries. At Willow Run, the world's largest aircraft manufacturing factory, there were 28 women when the plant opened in 1942, and a year later 40,066 (38 percent of the work force).165 But the percentages were not extraordinary by comparison to other nations at war. In the Soviet Union and Britain only 30 percent of the women aged 14 and over were "at home" whereas in the United States twice that percentage were.166 In the Soviet Union females were 38 percent of the labor force in 1940, and 53 percent two years later. In that country 33 percent of the welders, 33 percent of the lathe operators, 40 percent of the stevedores and 50 percent of the tractor drivers were female. And in the United Kingdom, 80 percent of the total increase in the labor force between 1939 and 1943 were women who had not previously been employed outside of the home. About 2.5 million women workers came into the United Kingdom labor force during the war.167 Germany also employed women in industry at a high rate. German women made up 51.1 percent of the civilian labor workforce in 1944 and the female German percentage was higher than in the United States throughout the war. But it also began at a much higher level--German women made up 37.4 percent of the civilian labor force before the war. At the peak women in the United



States comprised 35.4 percent of the labor force (up from 25.8 percent before the war).168

At least three of the belligerents in the war outmobilized the United States. Not that Britain, Germany, and the Soviet Union produced more munitions. The United States had greater technological capabilities, was more industrialized to begin with, and was not bombed or invaded. But a higher, and in some cases a much greater, percentage of their population was either in the armed forces or producing munitions. Germany for example had a population of 78


(Annual Expenditure in $ Billion, U.S. 1944 Munitions Prices)
  1935-9 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944
U.S.A. 0.3 1.5 4.5 20.0 38.0 42.0
Canada 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 1.5
U.K. 0.5 3.5 6.5 9.0 11.0 11.0
U.S.S.R. 1.6 5.0 8.5 11.5 14.0 16.0
Germany 2.4 6.0 6.0 8.5 13.5 17.0
Japan 0.4 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.5 6.0
NOTE: Figures for 1935-9 are given as cumulative expenditured in the source, annual average expenditure in this table.

Source: Harrison, Resource Mobilization for World War II: The U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945, 184.


million during the war years and had 17.9 million in their military of whom 3,250,000 were either killed in action or missing. The United States with a population of 129,200,000 had 16.4 million in its military services, losing 405,000 killed in action or missing. Germany also had another 2 million civilians killed in the war, not counting 300,000 murdered by the government. The nature of the grand strategies is apparent in these number.

The logistics approach taken by Germany and the United States drove the casualty figures. While the German military was about the size of that of the United States, the United States out-produced the Germans in trucks seven to one (2.4 million to 350,000). Germany often lugged its supplies around on horse drawn wagons. The United States, because it fought as much of an air war as an infantry war, out-produced the Germans five to one in bombers, 97,810 to 18,225. Moreover American bombers had much greater range, much more carrying capacity, were better armed and better armored. Even in fighter aircraft, the Germans were out-produced two to one, and in transport aircraft almost seven to one.169


1939/40 AND 1943
    Group I
U.S.A. 1940 8.4 1.0 9.4
1943 19.0 16.4 35.4
U.K. 1939 15.8 2.8 18.6
1943 23.0 22.3 45.3
U.S.S.R. 1940 8.0 5.9 14.0
1943 31.0 23.0 54.0
Germany 1939 14.1 4.2 18.3
1943 14.2 23.4 37.6
Source: Harrison, Resource Mobilization for World War II: The U.S.A., U.K. U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945, 186.




The United States spent six times as much as did the Germans on munitions per man in 1942, 3.5 times in 1943, and 2.5 times in 1944, again reflecting the different grand strategies.170 Still, by 1943 Germany was the most highly mobilized of the powers in terms of its ratio of armed forces to total population. However, it had a smaller percentage of its population in industry (Germany, however, did use 7.5 million slave laborers and prisoners of war, but the Soviet Union also employed prisoners--some 4.5 million of them). The Soviet Union was more fully mobilized than the United States or the United Kingdom with 76 percent of its net national product going to the war. The United States topped out at about 40 percent, but the United States had a vastly greater national product and it grew by 50 percent during the war whereas the Soviet Unions' Gross National Product fell to 66 percent of its high in 1940, and never reached its 1940 level by the end of the war. In Germany the gross national product grew by 16 percent between 1939 and 1943, but it had been stagnant in 1940 and grew only 2 percent in 1941 and only another 3 percent in 1942. No state on either side pushed a greater percentage of its people into war work or the armed forces than did the Soviet Union.171 The result of Soviet mobilization and Lend-Lease is that the Soviets expended about $60 billion worth of munitions on the eastern front against Germany which expended $50 billion. On the western front, however, the United Kingdom and United States expended $100 billion versus Germany's and Italy's $40 billion.172

There should be no doubt, therefore, that United States industrial production in World War II was no miracle. United States production in World War II was about what one should have expected given the size of the prewar technological base, the population size (three times Britain's, nearly twice Germany's, and greater than the Soviet Union's after Hitler's conquests in


1941). Germany in the face of allied bombing and sea blockade, and with her troops scattered from the north of Norway to the Pyrenees, and from the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the Caucasus, increased its productivity by 25 percent between 1943 and 1944 (a percentage that exceeded that in the United States). The Soviet Union lost 40 percent of its most productive territory and tens of millions of its people, and produced at a furious pace. Great Britain while suffering bombing and rocket attacks produced more tanks, ships (although not submarines), and airplanes than Germany with about 60 percent of Germany's population.173

Koistinen assembles productivity statistics to make his case that America's World War II munitions production effort was not outstanding. The United States, even still mired in the depression in the period 1936 to 1938, manufactured almost one third of the world's products (32.2 percent). The United States out-produced Germany about 3 times (10.7 percent), and out-produced Japan almost ten times (3.5 percent). Taking the United States prewar productivity in terms of production per man-hour as the standard and giving it a value of 100, the following chart indicates the relative productivity ranking of World War II foes.

Country Prewar
United States 100 100
Canada 71 57
United Kingdom 36 41
Soviet Union 36 39
Germany 41 48
Japan 25 17

One must not forget, however (and Koistinen does not), that the United States was "almost alone in increasing rather than diminishing consumer output during the war."174 To reiterate the points:


all belligerents fiercely produced munitions during the war, not just the United States. America had advantages that none of the other warring states had. Its output, while noteworthy, was what a prewar analyst might have expected given the size of the country, its educated population, the status of its technology, the abundance of its raw materials, the quality of its transportation network. In short: America's munitions production in World War II was no "miracle."

Could the United States have been more productive? Could it have produced more munitions more rapidly at a lower cost? Almost certainly, although it is difficult to determine what difference it might have made by August 1945. Robert Cuff, a generally friendly critic of the United States World War II mobilization effort, argues that the United States federal government administrative machinery was not up to the task of managing the economy for war from a central position: "administrative personnel and control coordinating machinery was rudimentary at best." More critically: "a cadre of political appointments loyal to the president is not the same as a higher civil service." And: "Wartime Washington was awash with competing centers of administrative decision-making." Where were the weaknesses? "Those with governmental authority did not possess relevant knowledge and control in technical matters, while those with technical knowledge and industrial control did not possess governmental authority." In a war the objective was to "bind them together, not drive them apart" and to create cohesion when the country, before Pearl Harbor was attacked, "divided on the very issue of war itself." The uneasy alliance between business executives and bureaucrats was patched together by Roosevelt and senior government officials, often from the worlds of business or finance much as Bernard Baruch had pieced together a government/business coalition in World War I. In World War II, as in World War I, the "alliance" was not designed to be permanent, and it did not last beyond the emergency. Given the nature of United States policy, it could not have lasted, and it was never cohesive.175

That it worked as well as it did--after all the United States did indeed drown Germany and Japan in a sea of munitions at a considerably smaller cost in American lives--Paul Koistinen attributes to the


Munitions and Men: the USA, UK, USSR, and Germany

(A) The ratio of spending on munitions to spending on military pay, 1939-45
  USA UK USSR Germany
1939 -- 3.6 -- 1.9
1940 4.2 4.1 3.3 1.0
1941 3.7 3.4 -- 0.8
1942 3.9 2.7 2.6 0.9
1943 3.0 2.7 2.6 0.9
1944 2.4 1.9 3.6 --
1945 1.8 1.4 -- --
(B) Volume of combat munitions production
compared to numbers of military personnel
(US 1944 dollars per man), 1940-44
  USA UK USSR Germany
1940 2800 1500 1200 1100
1941 2800 1900   800
1942 5400 2200 1100 900
1943 4200 2300 1300 1200
1944 3700 2200 1400 1400

Source: Harrison, Resource Mobilization for World War II: The U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945, 175.

president's "genius for mastering the intricacies of power in American society." He argues further: "political success depended upon handling an elitist reality within a context of populist ideology." Roosevelt "constantly finessed that blatant contradiction with great skill. His penchant for decision-making through conflict and competition stemmed less from an animus towards clear lines of authority and planning, and more from an instinctive and/or calculated tactics of obfuscating the elitist contours of power in America which he both accepted and supported."176


AND GERMANY, 1938-45
(Percent of National Income)
  U.S.A. U.K. U.S.S.R. Germany
1938 -2 5   -1
1939 -1 8   1
1940 -2 17   7
1941 -2 14   12
1942 -4 11 9 17
1943 -6 10 18 16
1944 -6 9 17  
1945   11    
Source: Harrison, Resource Mobilization for World War II: The U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945, 189.


What did the tidal wave of munitions mean in the end? At Leningrad in January 1944 the Soviet Union outnumbered Germany in tanks and self-propelled guns by six to one (1,200 to 200), in the Crimea in March 1944, the ratio was 12.5 to 1 (2,040 to 700). In April 1945 on the Oder/Neisse line, far from the Soviet logistic base, and inside Germany's it was 5.5 to 1 (4,100 to 750). At the time of Operation OVERLORD, the western allies, on their front, outnumbered Germany 8.5 to 1 in aircraft (the United States by itself 4.5 to one) and within days after June 6, 1944 the allies outnumbered the Germans in tanks 4.5 to 1. In April 1945 the allied superiority in aircraft was greater than 20 to 1.177 As Clausewitz wrote, superiority in numbers is the first principle of war, and in every dimension that mattered, the United States and its allies swamped their enemies logistically. The war production machine had become so powerful that the United States could launch two massive amphibious assaults, both involving thousands of ships, in June 1944: the assault on Normandy and, later in the month, the attack on Saipan.


THE U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., AND GERMANY, 1938-45
(Percent of National Income)

U.S.A. U.K U.S.S.R. Germany
  (I) (II) (I) (II) (I) (II) (I) (II)
1938 --- --- 7 2 --- --- 17 18
1939 1 2 16 8 --- --- 25 24
1940 1 3 48 31 20 20 44 38
1941 13 14 55 41 --- --- 56 44
1942 36 40 54 43 75 66 69 52
1943 47 53 57 47 76 58 76 60
1944 47 54 56 47 69 52 --- ---
1945 --- 44 47 36 --- --- --- ---

(I) National utilization of resources supplied to the war effort, regardless of origin: military spending (for the United States, less net exports) as share of national product.
(II) Domestic finance of resources supplied to the war effort, irrespective of utilization: military spending (for the U.K, U.S.S.R., and Germany, less net imports) as share of national product.

Source: Harrison, Resource Mobilization for World War II: The U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945, 184


  U.S.A. U.K. U.S.S.R. Germany
  (1939=100) (1938=100) (1937=100) (1939=100)
1937 -- -- 100 --
1938 -- 100 101 --
1939 100 103 107 100
1940 108 120 117 100
1941 125 127 94 102
1942 137 128 66 105
1943 149 131 77 116
1944 152 124 93 --
1945 -- 115 92 --

Source: Harrison, Resource Mobilization for World War II: The U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945, 185.


July 1, 1940 - July 31, 1945 (1945 preliminary)

Item Unit July 1, 1940
Dec 1941
1942 1943 1944 Jan 1 1945
July 31 1945
July 1, 1940
July 31, 1945
All military airplanes and special purpose aircraft Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Total Combat Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Bomber Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Heavy, long range Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Heavy, 4-engine, medium range Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Patrol Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Medium Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Light Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Fighter Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   2-engine Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   1-engine Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Reconnaissance Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Total transport Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Heavy Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Medium Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
   Light Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Total trainer Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Total communication Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)
Total special purpose aircraft Number
Airframe wgt (1000 lbs)

Source: Wartime Production Achievements, 198


July 1, 1940 - July 31, 1945 (1945 preliminary)

Item Unit July 1, 1940
Dec 1941
1942 1943 1944 Jan 1 1945
July 31 1945
July 1, 1940
July 31, 1945
Naval Ships (new constructions).1 Number
Thousand displ. tons
Combatants Number
Thousand displ. tons
Landing vessels Number
Thousand displ. tons
Patrol and
mine craft
Thousand displ. tons
District Craft Number
Thousand displ. tons
and other
Thousand displ. tons
Total Maritime
Commission ships
Thousand displ. tons
Standard cargo Number
Thousand DWT
Emergency cargo Number
Thousand DWT
   Liberty Number
Thousand DWT
   Victory Number
Thousand DWT
Other dry cargo
(excluding AKA)
Thousand DWT
Standard tankers Number
Thousand DWT
   Military types Number
Thousand DWT
   Transport attack, APA Number
Thousand DWT
   Cargo attack, AKA Number
Thousand DWT
Other military Number
Thousand DWT
Other types Number
Thousand DWT

1. Excluding small rubber and plastic boats
2. Excluding maritime constructed LST's -- 15 in 1942 and 60 in 1943.
3. Excluding 2 maritime constructed APA's.

Source: Wartime Production Achievements, 107.


July 1, 1940 - July 31, 1945 (1945 preliminary)
Item Unit July 1, 1940
Dec 1941
1942 1943 1944 Jan 1 1945
July 31 1945
July 1, 1940
July 31, 1945
Army guns and equipment:              
   Heavy field artillery (complete equipment) Number 65 647 2,660 3,284 1,147 7,803
   Spare cannon for heavy field artillery   0 0 323 3,601 4,321 8,245
   Spare recoil mechanisms for heavy field artillery   0 0 120 2,035 1,882 4,037
   Light field and antitank guns   4,705 20,536 19,096 7,685 4,345 56,367
   Tank guns and howitzers   6,787 43,368 34,711 19,991 11,735 116,592
   Guns for self-propelled carriages   0 8,811 13,155 2,981 2,113 27,060
   Bazooka rocket launchers   0 67,428 98,284 215,177 95,739 476,628
   Mortars   9,518 10,983 25,781 24,842 39,224 110,348
      Heavy   2,508 6,242 10,176 10,722 7,790 37,438
      Light   7,010 4,741 15,605 14,120 31,434 72,910
   Machine guns   87,172 662,331 829,969 798,782 302,798 2,681,052
      Heavy   57,563 347,492 641,638 677,011 239,821 1,963,525
      Light   29,609 314,839 188,331 121,771 62,977 715,527
   Submachine guns   216,811 651,063 688,410 347,463 186,192 2,087,939
   Rifles (excluding carbines)   357,496 1,425,926 2,723,696 1,400,608 616,898 6,522,624
   Carbines   5 115,813 2,959,336 2,088,697 886,000 6,049,851
   Pistols and revolvers   71,854 322,830 843,236 1,106,931 489,744 2,744,595
   Portable flame throwers   23 2,799 5,676 21,059 10,660 40,217
   Gas masks   761,730 4,286,525 9,002,634 6,813,754 2,712,654 26,577,297
   Helmets (ground)   324,000 5,001,000 7,649,000 5,704,000 3,940,000 22,618,000
Naval guns:              
   5-inch and over Complete assemblies 213 966 1,912 3,363 1,239 7,698
   3- and 4-inch   317 2,505 6,593 4,652 218 14,285
   20-mm, 40-mm, and 1.1-inch   915 31,833 51,626 45,710 12,547 142,631
Army ammunition and bombs:              
   Ground artillery ammunition Short tons 57,476 678,203 799,850 1,447,016 1,262,140 4,244,685
      Heavy field, weight   42,949 303,895 274,529 507,584 637,155 1,766,112
      Light field, tank, and antitank, weight   14,527 374,308 525,321 939,432 624,985 2,487,573
      Heavy field, rounds Thousand rounds 873 70,881 86,025 85,639 48,985 293,695
      Light field, tank, and antitank, rounds " 2,165 35,002 70,928 141,729 125,876 375,509
   Mortar shells Short tons 1,974          
   Bazooka rockets Thousands 0 155 1,945 7,422 5,700 15,222
   Small arms ammunition Million rounds 1,177 9,798 19.800 6,578 4,232 41,585


July 1, 1940 - July 31, 1945 (1945 preliminary)
Item Unit July 1, 1940
Dec 1941
1942 1943 1944 Jan 1 1945
July 31 1945
July 1, 1940
July 31, 1945
Army Ammunition and bombs - Continued:
   Land mines Thousands 0 1,332 11420 9,155 2,347 24,254
   Grenades, all types   1,222 15,977 24,981 40,654 27,136 109,970
   Aircraft bombs (Army and Navy) Short tons 45,000 630,000 1,548,000 1,953,000 1,646,000 5,822,000
      General purpose and demolition   42,000 493,000 1,005,000 956,000 1,068,000 3,564,000
      Incendiary   0 38,000 176,000 407,000 235,000 856,000
      Fragmentation   0 10,000 67,000 453,000 289,000 819,000
      Armor piercing and other   3,000 89,000 300,000 137,000 54,000 583,000
Naval Ammunition:
Gun ammo and rockets
   Surface fire   35,192 100,589 277,300 524,058 408,932 1,346,071
      High capacity   15,659 38,082 65,724 168,056 126,927 414,488
      Armor piercing   0 2,286 32,897 105,421 101,973 242,577
      Common and special common   15,049 23,185 21,055 39,229 13,022 111,540
   Antiaircraft   19,533 62,090 202,951 292,213 147,751 724,538
   Rockets   0 417 8,625 63,789 134,214 207,045
   Torpedoes, all types Number 2,319 4,524 15,599 24,015 6,804 53,261
   Depth charges   17,152 140,886 147,340 169,652 53,915 528,945
   Marine mines  
Combat and motor vehicles: 41,380 41,380 45,054 24,516 5,507 116,457
   Tanks   4,203 23,884 29,497 17,565 11,184 86,333
   Armored cars   0 191 9,067 5,509 1,671 16,438
   Scout cars and carriers   7,883 16,892 37,977 18,874 6,817 88,443
   Tank chassis for self-propelled guns   0 3,100 9,035 2,934 949 16,018
   Trucks   208,034 647,342 648,404 620,532 331,662 2,455,964
      Heavy-heavy (over 21/2 ton)   9,108 24,593 39,872 55,306 31,857 160,736
      Light-Heavy (21/2 ton)   64,975 190,779 202,994 230,645 149,485 838,878
      Medium (11/2 and under 21/2 ton)   50,136 148,753 141,912 87,468 22,143 450,412
      Light (under 11/2 ton)   83,815 283,217 263,626 247,113 128,167 1,005,938
   Tractors   111 14,886 34,250 47,356 23,184 119,787
Communication and electronic equipment: Million dollars 253 1,512 3,043 3,739 2,119 10,666
   Radio   122 823 1,471 1,393 608 4,417
   Radar   49 365 913 1,430 974 3,731
   Other   82 324 659 916 537 2,518
   Field and assault Wire (included in "Other") Thousand miles 226 906 968 1,608 1,555 5,263
Source: Wartime Productions Achievements, 109.


July 1, 1940 - July 31, 1945 (1945 preliminary)
Item Unit July 1, 1940
Dec 1941
1942 1943 1944 Jan 1 1945
July 31 1945
July 1, 1940
July 31, 1945
Other equipment and supplies:              
   Clothing (Army):              
      Boots, service combat Thousand pairs 0 147 605 12,653 12,940 26,343
      Drawers, cotton shorts Thousands 27,041 36,121 32,940 46,658 34,660 177,420
      Jackets, field M-1943   0 0 275 7,470 5,263 13,008
      Trousers, wool serge, olive drab   9,351 10,487 13,669 8,673 10,277 52,407
      Overcoat, wool melton, olive drab   2,705 5,867 5,025 538 1,786 15,191
      Socks, wool, light and heavy Thousand pairs 38,368 29,651 60,606 73,212 57,993 259,770
   Equipage (Army):              
      Bag, wool sleeping Thousands 0 0 253 5,749 2,819 8,821
      Blanket, wool M-1943   8,528 13,706 15,265 5,983 8,512 51,994
      Tent, squad M-1942   0 0 18 229 506 753
      Tent, shelter half   203 11,299 3,621 3,803 5,746 24,627
   Medical Supplies (Army):              
      Atabrine tablets   ((1)) (2)97,900 1,317,500 1,171,752 834,000 4,421,152
      Sulfadiazone tablets   ((1)) (1)35,994 675,697 463,306 306,565 1,581,562
      Sodium penicillin (100,000 oxford units) Thousand ampules ((1)) ((1)) (2)72 10,276 12,621 22,968
   Navy clothing:              
      Shoes, leather, black, low Thousand pairs 845 3,229 6,351 10,206 4,825 25,465
      Overcoat, kersey Thousands 297 1,017 1,601 1,331 475 4,721
      Drawers, nainsook, shorts   3,728 11,085 28,664 23,231 26,732 93,440
      Trousers, blue   761 2,237 5,017 3,232 828 12,075
      Jumper, blue dress   401 850 2,264 2,163 530 6,208
      Shirts, chambray   857 5,203 12,757 19,063 15,236 53,126
1. Not available.
2. Fourth quarter.

Source: Wartime Productions Achievements, 110.



What mobilization lessons can be learned from the United States during the World War II period? The first is that personalities matter. Roosevelt did not invest sufficient authority, in any of the people in charge of war mobilization until he appointed a true confidant and New Deal acolyte, Byrnes, to the position. Nobody prior to that time--Stettinius, Knudsen, Nelson--had the president's full confidence. Byrnes was not steeped in knowledge of industry, but he knew as well as anybody alive how Washington worked and how the legislature operated. Roosevelt could give Byrnes decision authority and then move on to other tasks confident that Byrnes would do the correct (and politically astute) thing.

The military, either uniformed or in mufti (civilians in the Defense Department) should be eager to let civilians run the economy and industry. Throughout the interwar period people in the War Department wanted that role and designed plans to seize it when a national emergency occurred. Roosevelt would not permit this, and it is hard to conceive of any president turning to the military or its civilian overlords to operate the largest economy in the world. The Defense Department does not have the knowledge to make it work and its priorities--defeating the enemy to secure the president's political objectives--would almost assuredly conflict with proper management of the economy.

In World War I and II the United States played a major logistics role. America's allies needed enormous support, but this was not planned for in either World War. Planners need to acknowledge the needs of allies in logistic planning.

Domestic and partisan politics will intrude on mobilization (and demobilization) decisions at every pass. In World War II the stakes were enormous, and Roosevelt had to watch his political adversaries, and even his allies. Byrnes and Nelson before him were fully aware that mobilization decisions were scrutinized by Congress, and not only by the loyal opposition. Presidential and congressional politics was never even below the surface in this most major of wars, and planners can assume with utter confidence that it will not be in any conflict in the future.

Finally, planning to mobilize the tools of war is essential. It may


be costly, but the expense will be minuscule by comparison to fighting without a plan. There is no need in this era, the 1990s, to have at the ready plans to reconstruct Willow Run. This analysis certainly does not call for resurrecting smoke stacks. But if the next war is to be a "third wave" war, then attention must be paid to ensuring that "third wave" industries can be mobilized to support the combat effort.

In World War II our enemies were separated from the United States by huge oceans, and both major adversaries were well tied down with the bulk of their forces fighting determined and large foes. Germany was bogged down in the Soviet Union and Japan was similarly mired in China. The United States had time and space. In the future, American interests might be attacked at a moment when the United States might not be as fortunate.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (Introduction) * Next Chapter (2)


1. Stephen Donadio, Joan Smith, Susan Mesner, Rebecca Davison (editors), The New York Public Library, Book of Twentieth-Century Quotations (New York: Warner Books. 1992), 184. See David C. Rutenberg, Jane S. Allen (editors), The Logistics of Waging War: American Logistics 1774-1985 Emphasizing the Development of Airpower (Gunter Air Force Station, Air Force Logistics Management Center, 1986). 81-82. More than $48 billion worth of supplies were furnished to allies, and aircraft and parts amounted to more than 16 percent of that total. About two-thirds of the total went to the British Empire, and most of that went to the United Kingdom.

2. Alan Milward wrote that "the war was decided by the weight of armaments production." Alan S. Milward, War, Economy and Society: 1939-1945 (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1979), 75. World War II was extraordinarily different from World War I, given that only 20 years separated them. A typical United States Army division in World War II required the support of 400,000 horsepower to keep it moving, versus 3,500 for one of General John J. Pershing's divisions, and a World War II division was less than half the size of a World War I similar unit. Considering the relative sizes, a World War II unit required 228 times the horsepower of the one 20 years earlier, Thus the demand on industry in World War II was truly striking. See James I. Abrahamson, The American Home Front (Washington: National Defense University Press, 1983), 132.

3. Milward, 73-74. The United States "had advantages in terms of size of labor force and raw material supply that were shared only by the Soviet Union, or would have been had not so much of Russia been in German hands."

4. Paul A.C. Koistinen is probably the most assertive revisionist dealing with United States World War II industrial production. See his "Warfare and Power Relations in America: Mobilizing the World War II Economy," in James Titus (editor), The Home Front and War in the Twentieth Century: The American Experience in Comparative Perspective: Proceedings of the Tenth Air Force Academy Military History Symposium (Washington, Office of Air Force History, 1984), 101. For an opposing view see, in the same volume, Robert D. Cuff's commentary on Koistinen's essay. Cuff, 112-115.

5. Milward, 40. The United States strategy for World War II was openly based on logistics. Roosevelt had no desire to squander lives as they had been wasted in World War I. He expected to win the war "through industrial production. The strategic assumption was that over a long period of time the United States must be ultimately victorious if war came to a battle of production."

6. Labor was generally discontented during the war. Wages rose from $.64/hour in 1939 to $.81/hour in 1944 and there were gains from overtime work, but taxes and "voluntary" bond allotments drove some of these wage gains down. At the height of the war, however, corporate profits, after taxes and in constant dollars were up more than 100 percent (vice labor's 21 percent gain). Farmers' income went up even more. Business, moreover, benefited from government building of factories and generous tax credits if it invested in factories. Koistinen, 106-109. Alan Milward estimates that industrial profits rose by 350 percent before taxation and 20 percent after taxation while wages rose by only 50 percent before taxation and prices rose by 20 percent. Milward, 63-72.

7. Koistinen, 107-108. He argues the United States economic mobilization was fragmented because "public opinion was not only confused and contradictory during the war, but also manifested a callous, selfish and uncaring streak." See also in the same volume John Morton Blum's essay "United Against: American Culture and Society during World War II," 5-14. "During the war the American people . . . responded to their visceral hatreds . . . In the spring of 1942 surveys indicated that some seventeen million Americans 'in one way or another' opposed the prosecution of the war." In the United States, as elsewhere, "the war at once aroused and revealed the dark, the naked, and shivering nature of man."

8. Jerome G. Peppers, Jr., History of United States Military Logistics, 1935-1985, A Brief Review (Huntsville, Logistics Education Foundation Publishing, 1988), 6. See also Donald M. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy (New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1946), 41. In 1940, according to Nelson, who was Chairman of the War Production Board, the Army had on hand 900,000 Springfield rifles from World War I and 1.2 million British Enfields, all obsolete, and only 50 million pounds (not tons) of fresh powder and 48 million pounds left over from World War I.

9. Peppers, 19.

10. Marvin A. Kreidberg and Merton G. Henry, History of Military Mobilization in the United States Army, 1775-1945 (Washington, Headquarters United States Army, 1955), 192-194.

11. J. M. Scammell, "History of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces 1924-1946," unpublished manuscript in the archives of the National Defense University Library, 5. Scammell quotes David Lloyd George's memoirs thusly: "it is one of the inexplicable paradoxes of history, that the greatest machine-producing nation on earth failed to turn out the mechanisms of war after 18 months of sweating and hustling. . . . There were no braver or more fearless men in any Army, but the organization at home and behind the lines was not worthy of the reputation which American business men have deservedly won for smartness, promptitude and efficiency." Scammell, 4.

12. Kriedberg and Henry, 495.

13. Ibid., 496-497. Previously the General Staff, itself not 20 years old, was responsible for procurement, but it had proved itself inept at this task when burdened with so many operational responsibilities during the war. Preparing Army officers for this responsibility, when knowledge of industry was absent in the military, became a difficulty which led to the creation of the Army Industrial College. Scammell, 18, 19.

14. Terrence J. Cough, "Soldiers, Businessmen and US Industrial Mobilization Planning Between the World Wars, " War & Society 9, 1 (May, 1991), 68-69. There was so much acrimony between G-3 (Operations) and the logisticians that there was no formal liaison between G-3 and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War throughout these two crucial decades.

15. Kreidberg and Henry, 499-502.

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid., 497-498.

18. Terrence J. Gough, "Origins of the Army Industrial College: Military Business Tensions After World War I," Armed Forces & Society, 17, 2 (Winter. 1991), 270-271.

19. Gough, "Soldiers, Businessmen, and US Industrial Mobilization." 70. Gough cites works published by Burns and Davis. His view is supported by Joanne E. Johnson. "The Army Industrial College and Mobilization Planning Between the Wars," unpublished Executive Research Paper, (Washington: Industrial College of the Armed Forces), 1-43.

20. The former quote was from the Washington News, November 1, 1938, and the latter from the Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 1939, and both are cited in Johnson, 20-21.

21. Gough, "Soldiers, Businessmen and US Industrial Mobilization . . . " 72.

22. Johnson, 1-43. Donald Nelson wrote that the Industrial College produced a "reserve of practical experience and research," but that it was not used by the early groups Roosevelt appointed to manage industrial mobilization. Nelson, 92.

23. Kreidberg and Henry, 692-693.

24. Ibid., 502-504. These Industrial Mobilization Plans (1922/1924, 1930, 1936, 1939) can be found in the National Archives. The 1933, 1936 and 1939 Plans can also be found at the National Defense University Library Archives. Kreidberg and Henry rely very heavily in this section of their massive work on mobilization on Harold W. Thatcher, "Planning for Industrial Mobilization 1920-1940", (Washington: Office of the Quartermaster General, 1948). There is a circulation copy of this unpublished work in the National Defense Library collection.

25. Ibid., 516-517.

26. Industrial Mobilization Plan, Revised 1933, National Defense University Library Archives, vii-xi.

27. Ibid., 18. The Gerald P. Nye Committee (Special Committee Investigating the Munitions Industry) was critical of this Plan because it did not sufficiently control war profiteering and because the Committee saw a threat of press censorship in the public affairs parts of the Plan.

28. Kreidberg and Henry, 518-525.

29. Industrial Mobilization Plan, Revised 1936 (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1936). Found in the National Defense University Library Archives.

30. Kreidberg and Henry, 529-530.

31. Industrial Mobilization Plan, Revision of 1939 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1939) 1-18, and "Annexes to 1939 I.M.P. [Industrial Mobilization Plan]" both found in the National Defense University Library Archives.

32. Kreidberg and Henry, 593.

33. Ibid., 581,593. Witness the passage of the draft extension bill on August 12, 1941 by just one vote with Japan into an 8-year war with China and German forces deep into the Soviet Union. See also Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 67-68.

34. Ibid., 692-693. The Special Senate Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program found: "public opinion prior to the outbreak of the war was sharply divided as to the role this country should play in the European conflict." See Kreidberg and Henry, 692-693. These authors argue that the planning was not a total waste because the procurement recommendations embodied in the various plans were followed, and the military did learn a great deal about industry in the process of studying it since 1924. Kreidberg and Henry, 689-691. See also Director of the Service, Supply, and Procurement Division, War Department General Staff, Logistics in World War II: Final Report of the Army Service Forces (Washington: Center for Military History, 1993) 5.

35. Yet the United States was better prepared for a World War in 1941 than it had been in 1917. From January 1941 to December 1941 munitions production increased 225 percent. Lend-Lease was an ongoing operation supplying our future allies with vital munitions, raw materials, and food. The foundation had been laid for the prodigious buildup that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor. Milward, 63-72.

36. Nelson, Arsenal of Democracy, 35.

37. Kreidberg and Henry, 468.

38. Gough, "Soldiers, Businessmen and US Industrial Mobilization . . . ", 81-83.

39. Cuff, 112-115. A history of this era written for the Industrial College of the Armed Forces states that it "was necessary to induce manufacturers to accept defense contracts" because of negative past experiences. Industry feared being left with excess capacity and was reluctant to build new plants even for fat contracts. But on June 25, 1940 Roosevelt secured legislation that authorized the Reconstruction Finance Corporation "to make loans, to . . . purchase capital stock in any corporation (a) for the purposes of producing, acquiring, and carrying strategic and critical materials as defined by the President, and (b) for plant construction, expansion and equipment. . . . " 54 Statute 573, cited in Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Emergency Management of the National Economy: Vol XIX Administration of Mobilization WWII (Washington: Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 1954), 21-23.

40. Kreidberg and Henry, 689-691.

41. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 12.

42. Kreidberg and Henry, 682-683.

43. Herman M. Somers, Presidential Agency: "The Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950), 6-7. Kreidberg and Henry, 682-683.

44. Nelson, 87-88.

45. Kreidberg and Henry, 683. Bureau of the Budget, The United States at War, Development and Administration of the War Program by the Federal Government (Washington, Government Printing Office, 1946), 22. These weak institutions, like the Office of Emergency Management, and the National Defense Advisory Commission (with emphasis on the third word) did not bar the president and Congress from actions. In the last half of 1940, for example, the Congress appropriated $10.5 billion for munitions contracts which was nine times the total expenditures for both the Army and Navy for fiscal year 1937 (which ended on 30 June 1938). Somers, 9.

46. Nelson, 87-88.

47. Kreidberg and Henry, 683-684. Nelson, 20-21. Nelson underscores the point that in May 1940, "business was fearful, labor was anxious" of an extensive increase in government power and authority.

48. Ibid. Nelson, 66. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 29. The seven advisors helped advance mobilization by solving problems as facilities, machine tools, and materials became tight. Unemployment was evaporating, and people with jobs wanted to spend money. Businessmen wanted to manufacture for this market and were reluctant to expand production facilities for munitions work when there might be no war. Labor also wanted to be rewarded in the tighter employment market. Sidney Hillman, a key labor leader, on July 2, 1940, established a Labor Policy Advisory Committee with representatives from the American Federation of Labor, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, and the railroad brotherhoods. Hillman and his partners tried to solve labor relations problems before they became issues. Nelson 308-311.

49. Nelson, 92-93. The Commission understood the intimate relationship between raw materials and industry and drew up a list of 14 strategic and 15 critical materials. Nelson, 94-97.

50. Somers, 14.

51. Nelson, 46, 48, 82-86.

52. The common policy of the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet Union on the verge of the war was to "follow a much more 'intensive' rearmament rather than follow the approach adopted by Germany stressing a relatively high level of allocations to mechanization and re-equipment, compared with the German policy of creating a large fighting force based on only limited military stock building . . . " Mark Harrison, "Resource Mobilization for World War II: The U.S.A., U.K., U.S.S.R., and Germany, 1938-1945," Economic History Review, XLI, 2 (1988), 175-177, 187, 190.

53. Nelson, 106. In 1940, Nelson, a senior Sears executive, was seconded to the Department of the Treasury where he was acting director of the Procurement Division. Here he was authorized to make purchases for all government departments except the Army and Navy. He soon became associated with the Advisory Commission as Coordinator of National Defense Purchases, but he was not a member at the outset. Nelson, 82-86 and Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 20. Coordination of purchases was desirable to prevent government agencies from competing with one another for supplies, and thus bidding up the price. By this time orders were pouring in from overseas, the armed services were spending more, and consumers had more money in their pockets and were eager to buy. Peppers, 32-35.

54. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 24.

55. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 23-25. Of course none of these recommendations came without debate. The authors of the Industrial College study argue that the "process of getting the country squared away for rearmament was accompanied by prolonged and vitriolic debate over the terms on which various interests would participate in the defense program." Labor seriously distrusted management and management was suspicious of labor. "'Everybody was clamoring for the Government to knock heads together, i.e., other people's heads."

56. Nelson 99, 105. Nelson brought much organizational capability, expertise, and additional personnel with the right skills to this group, added a statistical section in October 1940, and must have seemed like the superstar because it was he who eventually became the industrial mobilization "czar."

57. Baruch wanted industrial committees (there were 57 on the War Industries Board during World War I), saw the lack of a priority setting apparatus in the Advisory Commission as a major problem, and perceived the failure to establish a mechanism for controlling prices as critical. In general, he saw as crucial the lack of an individual with real authority to make decisions in this critical period. See Nelson. 90-91.

58. Somers, 14.

59. Kreidberg and Henry, 684-685.

60. Ibid. Nelson wrote that the Office of Production Management was ready for the "oxygen tent" by mid-summer of 1941. Nelson, 139.

61. Somers, 16-17. The Federal Power Commission was also a competitor. When the Office of Production Management tried to control power for defense purposes, the Federal Power Commission argued that only it had statutory authority to allocate electricity. Only Roosevelt could resolve such disputes.

62. Nelson, 124.

63. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 59.

64. Koistinen, 93. Koistinen asserts that the Advisory Commission and Office of Production Management were a "facade of broad interest group representation," but were "actually dominated by industry." Koistinen notes that the "nation's giant corporations" received the "overwhelming percentage of defense and war contracts."

65. Somers, 17. The most severe critic of the infighting that went on in Washington in this era is Bruce Carton. He was an eyewitness to the infighting and recorded the utter displeasures of those who were responsible for making the Office of Production Management and the War Production Board work. He found throughout the war that only an "armed truce" existed between American industry and the government on one hand and management and labor on the other. Catton argues that there were many good suggestions that came out of this partnership, but that poor relations between labor and management limited the potential. See Bruce Carton, The War Lords of Washington (News York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1948), 147-148, 150.

66. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 56-58.

67. Nelson, 123, 139. Machine tool production expanded more than six times during the war. Peppers, 63-65.

68. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 58.

69. Ibid., 59.

70. Koistinen, 93-94. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 68-75.

71. Kreidberg and Henry, 621-623, 625. See also Charles E. Kirkpatrick, An Unknown Future and a Doubtful Present: Writing the Victory Plan of 1941 (Washington: Center for Military History, 1990), 52-53. The Victory Plan became a blueprint for both the general mobilization of the Army as well as the concept by which the United States would fight the war. The leader of the Army's effort was Major Albert Wedemeyer. See Kirkpatrick, 1, 60-61.

72. Kirkpatrick, 107-108.

73. Kreidberg and Henry, 625, and James C. Gaston, Planning the American Air War, Four Men and Nine Days in 1941 (Washington: National Defense University Press, 1982), 9. As it turned out the ground force was barely large enough, and at the end of the war there were no more combat troops in the United States to send anywhere. All of the Army's ground forces were committed to battle by May 1945 (a total of 96 percent of all tactical troops were in overseas theaters). The Army had dispatched the last of its new divisions from the United States in February 1945. 3 months before V-E day. No new units were in the United States or were being formed. There was no strategic reserve! Kirkpatrick, 113.

74. Duncan S. Ballantine, U.S. Naval Logistics in the Second World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947), 56. Of course this, like all of the plans, was modified as the war progressed. The Navy's plan was short of landing craft and destroyer escorts. The Navy had received a big boost in construction funding and authorization a year earlier when the president signed the Two Ocean Navy Expansion Act on July 19, 1940 which authorized a vast increase in ship construction and up to 15,000 airplanes. At this point the Navy was authorized 35 battleships, 20 aircraft carriers, and 88 cruisers in addition to hundreds of destroyers and other smaller ships. Peppers, 13-14. See also Robert H. Connery, The Navy and the Industrial Mobilization in World War II, (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1951), 11-30 for the Navy's logistics organization, 31-54 for naval planning, 76-111 for industrial mobilization before Pearl Harbor was attacked, and 154-178 for revitalizing the Army and Navy Munitions Board.

75. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 68-75. Nelson, 155-156, 159-160, 162-163. See also Kreidberg and Henry, 685-686.

76. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 75. Nelson, 162-163.

77. Nelson, 163. See also War Production Board, Wartime Production Achievement and the Reconversion Outlook (Washington, 1945), 13-14. Nelson later in his volume charged the Army with trying to "gain control of our national economy." Establishing priorities was a tool in their approach. Nelson, 362-367. In the end, however, with the initiation of the Controlled Materials Plan in the fall of 1942 the military along with the commander in chief, did secure their priorities. The Controlled Materials Plan was indeed administered by the War Production Board, but the armed services received the raw materials to be distributed as they saw fit to their prime contractors based on the priorities they deemed strategic. See below.

78. Somers, 113-114. See also Nelson, 107-109. "If any single issue constantly loomed larger than any of the rest, it was that of priorities."

79. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 76-77.

80. United States manufacturers produced 4.7 million automobiles in 1937, and virtually none in 1942. The capacity to build that many automobiles--78 percent of the cars produced in the world and 64 percent of the trucks and buses--was an asset beyond rational value once converted. The output of aircraft was tiny by comparison. See Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1941 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1942), 900. See Nelson, 53 for the statistics on world automobile output.

81. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 78-80. Koistinen writes that the uniformed military built up in the Munitions Board a parallel structure to Nelson's Board so that the military could analyze and dispute and fight for their view of a proper prioritization. The leader of the Munitions Board, Ferdinand Eberstadt, was trusted by the uniformed military and by their service secretaries. Whenever he could, his Board prioritized production and construction through its contracting authority. Koistinen, p 95.

82. Nelson, 184.

83. Somers, 42-46.

84. Nelson, 35.

85. Ibid., 18-19.

86. Ibid.. 186. Nelson was called to the White House on January 15, 1942 to discuss war strategy and deficiencies in war production organizations. The president made clear that "our fate and that of our Allies--our liberties, our honor . . . depended upon American industry." Nelson, 16-17.

87. Kreidberg and Henry, 686-687. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 100-104. Koistinen, 95-96.

88. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 100-101.

89. David Robertson, Sly and Able: A Political Biography of James F. Byrnes (New York: Norton, 1994), 316. Harold G. Vatter, The United States Economy in World War II (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 67.

90. See Nelson, 194 for media expectations. Kreidberg and Henry, 686-687. Koistinen, 95-96. James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (New York: Harper Brothers, 1947), 15-16.

91. War Production Board, 7. Nelson's policy was to impose only those controls within their authority that would significantly speed victory, and not to impose restrictions that added little. He promptly dropped those restrictions that proved "unworkable or outlived their usefulness." War Production Board. 13.

92. Nelson, 204-205.

93. Nelson, 211. On March 3, 1942 Nelson directed that contracts were not to be competed for, but rather negotiated. This saved an enormous amount of time. Nelson, 369. Cost plus fixed fee contracts were the norm. These had a legal limit of 7 percent fee, but most often the fee was only 5 percent, and the Army Air Forces usually paid only 4 percent. Nelson, 79.

94. Nelson 212-224. Nelson's first order as Chairman of the War Production Board was to stop production on all passenger cars and light trucks as of February 1, 1942. Nelson, 203. The aircraft industry expanded more than 4 times during the war from fewer than 500,000 people to more than 2 million, but production exploded more than 30 times. Nelson, 227-228, 235-236.

95. Vatter, 13.

96. Nelson, 277-289.

97. War Production board, 10-13.

98. Koistinen, 95-96. Nelson admits that small businesses did not get their fair share of the contracts. But Nelson argues that he did not have the manpower to go to the 184,000 manufacturing firms in existence at the outset of the war. About 100 giants received the vast bulk of the contracts, and the subcontracting was left to big industry. Nelson's justification was that time was the issue, that winning the war was the goal, and time could not be wasted. Kreidberg and Henry (686-687) assert that "either Mr. Nelson was the wrong man for the job or else the [War Production Board] was created so late that it was impossible for its chairman to successfully challenge existent, entrenched agencies which were made subordinate to [the War Production Board]." Further, "the frequent reorganizations of [the War Production Board], together with the tangled maze of its relationships with other agencies, continued to delay, harass, and anger businessmen who needed decisions. [The War Production Board] was so fully occupied with directing the flow of materials that by 1943 it had relinquished overall control of economic mobilization." Herman M. Somers grants that Nelson had been given the powers the president had been granted by the Congress under Title III of the War Powers Act. But Nelson did not seize all he could, and the president himself "diluted and diffused the powers given to Nelson." Somers, 24.

99. Kreidberg and Henry, 686-687. Nelson deliberately refused to procure for the Army and Navy, arguing that had he done so the warriors would have been critical of such a move because people from industries producing the tools of war would have been buying their own systems, and, as importantly, it would have taken too long to train War Production Board civilians in these arts. Nelson, 196-199. The War Production Board history asserts, however, that it was not without influence here, but that its approach was to collaborate and coordinate, but never to dictate. Regarding people, a vital concern to the Board in order to maximize production, the Board worked with the War Manpower Commission to guide labor to where it was most needed through its Production Urgency List--which was frequently updated--and also collaborated with Selective Service to determine which workers in war industries were actually essential and should therefore be exempt from the draft. The Board also certified to the War Labor Board when and where wage increases were justified to attract an adequate labor supply. War Production Board, 15-17.

100. Vatter, 72-73. Administrative Order 2-23 gave the Army just what it wanted, the right to "direct production themselves." (The Navy's order was 2-33.) The service secretaries and their flag officers were armed "with a hunting license . . . to freely trespass upon the territory the President had assigned to the War Production Board." Vatter argues that money and time could have been saved and wasted effort avoided had Nelson stood his ground.

101. Ibid.

102. Milward, 122-123. Milward cites another problem--strategic shortsightedness. The services "fought strenuously against all raw material allocations to the Soviet Union." [When keeping the Soviet Union in the war was vital to the cause.]

103. Nelson, 206, 208-209.

104. Ibid., 200-202.

105. Ibid., 205-206.

106. War Production Board, 14-15. This method of allocation lasted until the end of the war. Somers, 116. Koistinen 97,98. See also David Novick, Melvin Anshen, and W.C. Truppner, Wartime Production Control. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1949), 129, 133, 165. "The fundamental objectives of the Controlled Materials Plan were clear from the start. They were (1) to assure a balance between supply and demand for the principal production materials designated under the plan as 'controlled materials'--carbon and alloy steel, brass [really copper], and aluminum; (2) to secure that balance by a coordinated review of military export, and essential civilian programs in terms of their controlled material equivalents, and by adjustments, wherever necessary, to yield that total commitment of our production resources calculated to secure maximum output for world military victory; (3) to schedule production for each approved end product program in order to secure the maximum level of balanced output at all levels of production from metal mill to final assembly plant; (4) to maintain continuing control over production and over the distribution of materials required to support approved production levels in all parts of the economy; and above all (5) to cut down the size of the total arms production program to realistic proportions by expressing all projects in addable currency common to virtually all programs--steel, copper, and aluminum . . . The original group of claiming agencies was . . . composed of the War Department, Navy Department, Maritime Commission . . . Aircraft Resources Control . . . Lend Lease Administration, Board of Economic Warfare, and Office of Civilian Supply . . . The Controlled Materials Plan was the most complex piece of administrative machinery created during the period of the war emergency."

107. Milward, 123-124.

108. Novick, Anshen, and Truppner, 167-170.

109. Ibid. Nelson wrote that there was no single "vital to victory" war program. "We had a dozen or more, and all of them had to go along together. For example, steel plate was needed by merchant ships, but steel plate was also needed by the Navy for its warships, by the Army for its tanks, by Lend-Lease for the requirements of our Allies; it was essential, too, for the building of high-octane gasoline plants, rubber plants, and for the expansion of out overall industrial capacity." Nelson, 249-251.

110. Nelson, 251-256. Nelson cites Roosevelt for raising the priority of landing craft in the Navy's "most urgent category." The president in 1942 saw the need before the Navy did, because the latter was focusing on destroyers and other anti-submarine craft for the Battle of the Atlantic. Nelson notes that landing craft expansion cut into many other shipbuilding programs, and there were still never enough landing craft.

111. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 113.

112. Somers, 26-27. Kreidberg and Henry, 687-689, found the War Manpower Commission to be ineffective because it had no power to draft, assign, or punish civilian workers.

113. Somers, 109-112.

114. Nelson, 167-170.

115. Ibid., 359-362. The Navy Department seemed more attuned to the needs of civilians--after all how would workers get to factories or shipyards without automobiles and buses, and how productive would they be if their life styles were neglected? Nelson 357-359. Myopia on the part of the services frustrated Nelson to the point that he petitioned Roosevelt to let him return to Sears. Nelson, 107-109, 112. Nelson wrote that Roosevelt told him that both had to beware of the Army acquiring "too much power." In a democracy, the president argued, the economy "should be left in the charge of civilians." [This is certainly one of the major reasons the president rejected the interwar industrial mobilization plans.] Roosevelt told Nelson "to fight for" his rights when "such issues" as civilian versus military control arose. Nelson was proud of the fact that "no other outfit in the world ever fought the Army of the United States to a standstill more frequently than the intrepid patrol of the [War Production Board]." Nelson xvii-xviii.

116. Somers, 29-31.

117. Robertson, 316-321. Byrnes, while in the Senate, had drafted and helped move key war powers and other emergency legislation, and even while an Associate Justice he continued to draft and expedite legislation. Attorney General Francis Biddle reported to Roosevelt on January 9, 1942 that "all defense legislation is being cleared by the departments and then through Jimmy Byrnes, who takes care of it on the Hill." His appointment, however, obviously undercut Nelson. Robertson, 312-314. Byrnes had been the floor manager for Roosevelt's Lend-Lease Act. Robertson, 296-297.

118. Somers, 38-39. Bruce Catton would agree.

119. Nelson, 32, 391-415.

120. Somers, 35.

121. One of these was Roosevelt himself. Herman Somers argues that the creation of the Office of War Mobilization was neither driven by personality conflicts nor by military-civilian rivalry. It was that no one short of the president could make decisions across so many agencies and departments, therefore an assistant president who could do so was essential if Roosevelt was to focus on grand strategy. Somers 38-40. Koistinen argues that Roosevelt created the Office of War Mobilization because he was feeling the heat from the [John H.] Tolan Committee (House Select Committee Investigating National Defense) and the [James F.] Murray Committee (Senate Special Committee to Study and Survey the Problems of American Small Business). These all called for centralization of the mobilization process. Koistinen, 99.

122. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 119-123. On May 25, 1943 the New York Times editorialized: "Intramural bickering and inter-bureau politics are moving to a new high point in bitterness with energy that might be devoted to outdoing the Axis being turned by subordinate officials to undoing one another." Cited in Somers, 33, 34.

123. Somers, 5. Roosevelt wrote Byrnes in January 1944: "You have been called 'The Assistant President' and the appellation comes close to the truth." Robertson, 322. Executive Order 9347, May 27, 1943, cited in Somers, 47-51.

124. Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 104-110. Byrnes wrote: "The fight to hold wages . . . and prices was a bitter struggle. It was a struggle against the desires of the producers to obtain increased prices and of workers to win increased wages. Senators, representatives, labor leaders, businessmen, farmers, and spokesmen for groups of all kinds would present their special case. Whenever they could, they would go to the President to present their complaint." Byrnes, 19. The Bureau of the Budget was heavily involved in economic policy too, and its powers were vastly expanded during the war. See Industrial College of the Armed Forces, 93-97. But the relationship between the Office of Economic Stabilization and the Bureau of the Budget was not friction free. Byrnes inevitably engaged in formulating policy that prior to his appointment was the province of the Budget Bureau, and Bureau Director Harold D. Smith challenged Byrnes' authority. But Byrnes had proximity--being located in the White House.

125. Somers, 35. The quote is from the Executive Order 9250 which Byrnes drafted October 3, 1942. Byrnes, 17. He succeeded in that inflation was dampened better than in previous wars. While the cost of living had risen rapidly in the first year of the war, from April 1943 to September 1945, it rose only another 4.8 percent.

126. Ibid., 66-70.

127. Ibid., 118-121.

128. Ibid., 47-51, 203, 233.

129. Ibid., 70-75.

130. Ibid., 63-64.

131. Ibid., 51-54, 80-81.

132. Ibid., 65. Milward agrees with Somers. Byrnes was indeed the "supreme umpire over the powerful." Milward, 110-113.

133. Kreidberg and Henry, 687. Vatter, 82-83. Somers, 137. Herman Somers, the scholar with the greatest depth regarding the Office of War Mobilization, cites a dispute between Byrnes and the Navy in March 1945, over the number of aircraft that were needed to complete the war. The Army Air Forces had reduced their demand by almost 44,000 airplanes, saving more than $7.5 billion, but the Navy cut very little. Both Byrnes and Vinson found the Navy's insistence untenable. Somers 122-124, 133-134. The Joint Chiefs in January 1945 demanded 40 additional tankers. The Joint Production Survey Committee, which was set up by Byrnes inside the Joint Staff to analyze such demands, said the number of tankers requested was excessive. The Joint Chiefs overruled the Joint Production Survey Committee, but the Office of War Mobilization denied the Chiefs petition. Somers, 130-132. In April 1945 the Joint Chiefs tried to influence shipping priorities in terms of the ratio of space allocated for civilian and military goods. Vinson wrote Admiral William D. Leahy that the "responsibility for making final decisions as to the proper balance in the employment of manpower and production resources to obtain the maximum war effort rests with this office. . . . " Somers 128-130. The Navy in January 1945, probably at some prodding by representatives and senators with shipyards in their districts and states, requested an additional 84 ships (644,000 tons) beyond the 1945 program. The Navy went directly to the president, bypassing the Office of War Mobilization. Byrnes counseled the president to cancel most of the order, and Roosevelt eliminated 72 ships (514.000 tons) saving $1.5 billion. Somers, 125-128.

134. Robertson, 328-330.

135. Somers, 200-202. The Congress was seriously concerned with this aspect of economic planning, and it was a major factor in the push for orderly demobilization and in fact legislated the issue because of their political concerns. Byrnes was sensitive and set up the Bernard Baruch-John Hancock postwar planning unit in the summer of 1943. These two gurus produced a report in February 1944 stressing the need for congressional leadership in postwar reconversion. The Congress passed the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion Act on 3 October 1944 granting vast powers to the Office and its director.

136. Ibid., 200-202.

137. Peppers, 65. Nelson, 239-242. One finds different production figures in various sources, usually because the authors do not start or finish at the same date. The War Production Board figures for tank production in World War II is 86,333 between July 1, 1940 and July 31, 1945. War Production Board, 10-13. What is impressive about the United States figures is the acceleration rather than the gross total. For comparisons of aircraft production see John Ellis, World War II: A Statistical Summary, The Essential Facts and Figures for All the Combatants (New York: Facts on File, 1993), 278,279.

138. u Nelson, 237-238. The United States produced more than 40 percent of all the aircraft produced by all belligerents in World War II and supplied enough raw materials to its two key allies--the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union--to permit them to be the number two and three producers of aircraft. Peppers, 63-65. Between January 1, 1910 and August 14, 1945 the United Stales spent $45 billion manufacturing aircraft. At the peak of the war the Army Air Forces had in its inventory 89,000 airplanes. Joshua Stott, Picture History of World War II: American Aircraft Production (New York: Dover Productions, 1993), xi. The Navy inventory of aircraft at the end of the war contained 36,721 aircraft, U.S. Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1950 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1950), 212. Not all of the technological innovation went into just improving weapons, much went into improving the production processes. Thus production of the famous Oerlikon gun went from 132 hours to 35. Milward, 186.

139. Vatter, 22.

140. War Production Board, 3-5.

141. US Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1948 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1948), 174-176.

142. Milward, 73-74.

143. Harrison, 173. Germany's Blitzkrieg strategy was aimed at winning the war before an economic mobilization by Germany's adversaries could influence events. Hitler's lightning war in the Soviet Union failed, but, even then, Germany did not turn to the type of economic mobilization policies of its adversaries. Germany's economic effort remained divided long after the allies had pursued a more centralized course, with much better results. Not only did Hitler turn to economic mobilization too late, but he did so without enthusiasm and within the framework of Nazi party tensions and rivalries. Both of Hitler's strategies failed. Harrison, 178-181.

144. War Production Board, 34-35. In some industries almost all of the construction money came from the government: 97 percent of the synthetic rubber industry construction for example, military explosives 85 percent, and chemical warfare was 100 percent. War Production Board, 86.

145. War Production Board, 1-2. The labor force went up from 54 million to 64 million in the war, but most of the increase here came from the 9 million who were unemployed in 1939. There were about 12 million in the armed services at the manpower peak. Most of the 10 million increase in the labor force went into factories (the volume of manufacturing output tripled) and agriculture. The construction trades lost workers after 1942. The workweek increased from 37.7 hours per week in 1939 to 45.2 hours in 1944, and productivity increased sharply.

146 Abrahamson, 139-140. In Britain real total personal consumption fell at the wartime nadir to 70 percent of the 1938-1939 level, whereas in the United States at the worst, in 1942, it was 5 percent higher than it had been in 1940. Thereafter it went up rapidly. In the United States personal consumption never fell below 55 percent of a rapidly expanding gross national product, whereas in Britain it never topped 49 percent of a much smaller gross national product. Vatter, 20.

147 Somers, 140-158.

148 Peppers, 51-52.

149 Ibid., 51-52. Somers, 167-174.

150 Somers, 158-167. Byrnes was the manpower "czar" and on his own, with doubtful legal authorization, declared at the end of 1944 that essential industries make 30 percent of their men eligible for the draft. Many industrialists and their sponsors in the War Production Board and in other agencies, complained, but Byrnes succeeded in enforcing his decision.

151 War Production Board, 90-91. Copper uses were reduced to an absolute minimum. Iron and steel were substituted for brass as "victory-type" plumbing fixtures. Structural designs were lightened in residential construction reducing the weight of all metal per dwelling unit from a prewar average of 8,300 pounds to 3,200 pounds by mid-1942.

152 Nelson, 290, 296- 297, 303, 305. Synthetic rubber production expanded about 100 times during the war from 8,300 tons in 1939 to 800,000 tons in 1944. Peppers, 63-65.

153 War Production Board, 57-62. Aluminum production expanded about 6 times during the war from 327 million pounds in 1939 to 1.8 billion pounds in 1943. Peppers, 63-65.

154 War Production Board, 53-56. Silver was also a substitute because the government had a stockpile of silver and none of copper. See Nelson, 353-358. Steel was a pacing material, obviously. By January 1943 total steel production was up 44 percent from the beginning of the war. Nelson, 44-46, 50.

155 War Production Board, 39-41.

156 US Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1950, 212.

157 Nelson, 259. Nelson considered shipbuilding to be the greatest production success story. In September 1939 the United States merchant fleet comprised about 1,500 ships of 10.5 million deadweight tons. By the time Germany surrendered the United States had built 5,200 large ocean-going vessels with a total deadweight tonnage of 53 million tons (and built hundreds of smaller types of ships). All this was done while warship construction was also exploding. The Maritime Commission, responsible for civilian shipping production, fixed on the Liberty Ship as the standardized merchant ship in order to accelerate production. Nelson, 243-245. In World War I the United States shipped more than half of its people, goods, munitions, and materials in foreign bottoms, but in World War II 80 percent of a considerably larger total of men, munitions, supplies, food, cargo, and materials was sent in American ships. Abrahamson, 147.

158 War Production Board, 10-13. In 1944 more than 27,000 landing craft were built with a tonnage of 1,512,710 tons, and on January 1, 1945 there were 54,206 landing craft on hand and 1,167 warships (on January 1, 1941 there were only 322 combat ships and a year later only 347). U.S. Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1948 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1948), 229. The variety of landing craft is staggering. Some were ocean going vessels, others were designed to run from a mother ship to the shore only. Some carried cargo, some people, some both, some tanks. Regarding the latter, a Landing Ship Tank (LST) carried 13 to 20 heavy tanks, while a Landing Craft Tank (LCT) carried 3 heavy tanks. The former was ocean going, the latter was not. Peppers, 106.

159 For warship figures, see Ellis, 293-301.

160 Peppers, 98-100.

161 Milward, 59.

162 Ibid., 216-244.

163 Peppers, 58-61. In one parachute [manufacturing] company women were 85 percent of the workforce.

164 Nelson, 237. Nelson also mentions the accommodations factories made in order to get women to accept employment: day care providers, housing agents, social work, etc.

165 Francis Walton, Miracle of World War II. How American Industry Made Victory Possible (New York: Macmillan, 1956), 372, 382-383. Here are the census figures: In 1940 there were 100,230,000 people 14 years of age and older in the United States. Of these 56,030,000 were in the labor force counting the military, of whom 47,520,000 were employed and 8,120,000 unemployed and 44,200,000 were not in the labor force either keeping house, or in school, or otherwise occupied. Of the 56 million in the workforce, 41,870,000 were working males and 14,160,000 females. In 1944 there were 104,450,000 people over 14 years old. Of that total 65,140,000 were in the labor force either as workers or in the military and 38,590,000 were not in the labor force (down less than 4 million from 1940). There were 46,520,000 males in the labor force including the military, of whom 35,460,000 were in the civilian work force and 19,170,000 women in the civilian work force, an increase of 5 million over 1940. Male workers declined by 4.5 million (the services absorbed about 12 million men at the peak), and females increased by 5 million.

166 Vatter, 20.

167 Milward, 216-244.

168 Leila J. Rupp, Mobilizing Women For War: German and American Propaganda 1939 to 1945 (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 185. See also Penny Summerfield, Women Workers in the Second World War: Production and Patriarchy in Conflict (London: Croom Helm, 1984), 29. Summerfield sets the United Kingdom female civilian work force percentage at 38 percent. Abrahamson, 164-165.

169 Ellis, 253-254, 278-279.

170 Harrison, 175-177.

171 Ibid., 183-186, 189-190. Harrison wrote: "American shipments of trucks, tractors, and tinned [canned] food provided the Red Army with decisive mobility in its westward pursuit of the retreating Wehrmacht." His analysis indicates that the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union received more, in economic terms, from the United States in Lend-Lease than Germany gained from her allies and conquests.

172 Ibid., 190-191.

173 Koistinen, 102-103.

174 Ibid., 236-237.

175 Cuff, 115-116.

176 Koistinen, 108-109.

177 Ellis, 230-231.

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