Saturday, September 26, 2020


American domestic policy was not completely out of the picture, since the success of the Allied cause was going to depend so heavily upon the productive capacity of the U.S. industrial economy. American industry had struggled for more than a decade to emerge fully from the Great Depression, and its rapid transformation into a true arsenal of democracy would be a heavy lift. 

Could it do it? In fact, it made the lift with surprising speed, exceeding all expectations and spearheading the Allied drive to victory. All the gloom and frustration of the past decade was set aside, as the moral equivalent of war gave way to the moral force of the real thing. Consider some statistics. By the end of the first year of American involvement in the war, American arms production had risen to the same level as that of Germany, Italy, and Japan put together. 

By 1944, it was double that amount. By the end of the war, the United States had turned out two-thirds of all the military equipment used by the Allies combined: a staggering 280,000 warplanes, 100,000 armored cars, 86,000 tanks, 8,800 naval ships, 2.6 million machine guns, 650,000 artillery pieces, millions of tons of ordnance, and 41 billion rounds of ammunition. Accomplishing all this, while putting into uniform 11 million soldiers, 4 million sailors, 700,000 marines, and 240,000 coast guardsmen, meant drawing into the industrial workforce a great many women and minorities, on an even greater scale than occurred in World War I. Depression-era unemployment rates were now a distant memory, as the factories of the nation whirred with activity.

Wilfred M. McClay, Land of Hope (327-328). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

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