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Organizing for Victory


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An outline of how the U.S. prepared for WWII

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Organizing for Victory

  1. 1. Organizing for Victory
  2. 2. Financing the War • Government had a huge role in the economy during WWII • 1945 Federal Budget was $95.2 billion, which was 10X what it was in 1939 • National Debt was $258.6 billion,which was 6X greater
  3. 3. Taxes!...& Bonds • Tax collections rose from $2.2 billion to $35.1 billion • Mass taxation, not only on the upper class, but also on the middle class • This was sold as a way for citizens to show their patriotism • $135 Billion in war bonds
  4. 4. Bureaucracy • Number of government workers increased to 3.8 million during WWII – A 4X increase in number – Far more job creation than the New Deal! • Leadership of federal agencies moved from reformers during New Deal to business executives – Dollar a year men, because they volunteered for government work as corporate workers
  5. 5. Inflation • Consumers had a lot more money to spend, so producers began to increase their prices: inflation! • Office of Price Administration: regulated the domestic economy • By Feb. 1942, prices were rising by 2% a month; in April the OPA froze prices and rents at their March levels • Congress passed the Anti-Inflation Act, which stabilized prices, wages, and salaries
  6. 6. War Production Board • Awarded defense contracts • Evaluated military and civilian requests for scarce resources • Oversaw the conversion of industry to military production • WPB encouraged businesses to move to war production by granting generous tax writeoffs that guaranteed a profit and keeping the factories open after the war
  7. 7. WPB and Efficiency • WPB dealt with major corporations rather than with small businesses • The 56 largest corporations received 3/4 of the war contracts, and the top ten received 1/3 of them! • Large corporations became the major form of output • 1940: largest 100 companies manufactured 30% of industrial output; by 1945 it was 70%
  8. 8. What were they producing? • By 1945, business and gov’t produced: – 100,000 tanks – 296,000 airplanes – 15 million rifles and machine guns – 64,000 landing craft – 6,500 ships • By 1944, the U.S. produced 2X what the Axis powers did combined
  9. 9. End results: • Government’s role was very large in turning the economy around • GDP went from $99.7 billion in 1940 to $211 billion in 1945 • Federal government was the driving force during WWII, like it was in the New Deal • So it goes back to our question: was it the New Deal or WWII that got the US out of the depression?????
  10. 10. Mobilization for War • 15 million men and women in military by end of WWII • Draft boards had registered 31 million men and women between 18-44 • Over half of men were rejected due to things such as poor teeth, poor vision • Race discrimination was prevalent: 700,000 African Americans fought in segregated units • Other groups were never segregated
  11. 11. Women in the War • 350,000 women enlisted in the armed services • Served many roles from nurses to volunteer services to volunteering for actual duty • Women were barred from combat • Clerical work, communications, and health care were most common jobs
  12. 12. Jobs at Home • The US faced a labor shortage due to large numbers of military personnel • 7 million new workers were available for industry • “Rosie the Riveter” • Women made up 36% of workforce in 1945, only 24% in 1940
  13. 13. Unequal Conditions • Women were seen by many men as a temporary fix until the men came home from war • Pay was not even close to equal • In shipyards: the top women made about $7 an hour, while the top men made $22
  14. 14. National War Labor Board • FDR set up the NWLB in 1942 • Established wages, hours, and working conditions • Had the authority to order government seizure of plants that did not comply • 40 plants were seized during the war • Many minor disputes arose but were averted by the NWLB (RR’s, miners) • Union membership rose during WWII due to perceptions that the situation was far worse
  15. 15. Civil Rights During Wartime • Due to time constraint, I am asking you to look at this information on your own • Please refer to your textbook, pages 760-761 (you should have already read this!!!)
  16. 16. Politics During Wartime • FDR did not call for much social or economic change during the early years of WWII • Republicans had made small gains in Congress in 1942 • As a result, FDR agreed to drop several New Deal Programs such as the CCC and National Youth Administration, which weren’t as necessary due to full employment
  17. 17. Later during the war… • FDR began to promise new social welfare measures • Lots of rhetorical speaking, Congress did not necessarily support this • One that did work was the GI Bill: • Provided education, job training, medical care, pensions, and mortgage loans for men and women who served in armed forces in WWII • Later extended to Korean War Veterans
  18. 18. Election of 1944 • FDR called for a 4th term due to WWII • A new VP candidate was chosen: Harry Truman, who was known from his time in Congress for heading a Senate investigation of government efficiency in awarding wartime defense contracts
  19. 19. Dewey • Thomas Dewey was Republican candidate – Only 42 y.o. – Ran again in 1948 • Famous for fighting organized crime in NY • Closest election since 1916, many were concerned about FDR’s health • 60% of FDR’s votes came from urban areas, showing diversity of voters support of him – New Deal Coalition