Wednesday, October 13, 2021


[In the U.S.] It proved necessary to increase the scope of state intervention (against much resistance) in order to bring about the conversion to war as rapidly as possible, but American industrial practices—large firms, mass production methods, high engineering standards, professional management—meant that private initiative as much as state control was a driving force of American war production. The United States produced two-thirds of all Allied supplies during the war, including 297,000 aircraft, 193,000 artillery pieces, 86,000 tanks, and 2 million trucks. American shipyards turned out 8,800 naval vessels, sixteen to every one produced by Japan. All of this could be done while sustaining generous consumption levels by the standards of other states (though rationing, particularly of petrol, was introduced for a number of products) and raising income levels for the workforce. Average calorie intake was higher in 1944 than it had been in 1938, a situation enjoyed by no other warring population. Better food and higher incomes were particularly important for the poorer sections of American society, hit hardest by the depression, but now able to share high standards with the better-off. Though historians have argued that the idea of wartime boom years can be exaggerated, by comparison with the decade of economic crisis that preceded it, the boom seemed real enough…

...The Soviet war effort relied heavily on Lend Lease because the supply of food, materials, and equipment allowed Soviet industry to concentrate production on finished weapons. The 363,000 trucks supplied to the Soviet Union exceeded total German production throughout the war; Lend Lease supplied 58 per cent of Soviet aviation fuel and 53 per cent of explosives, and 1,900 rail locomotives against just 92 produced in the Soviet Union. The Soviet military communications system was transformed by the supply of telephones, telephone wire, and front-line radios. Though the Soviet position after the war was to play down aid from the imperialist West, Khrushchev recalled in the 1960s that Stalin had several times remarked that without the aid the Soviet Union ‘could not have continued the war.’

Overy, Richard. The Oxford Illustrated History of World War Two (238-241). Oxford University Press, Oxford. Kindle Edition.

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