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Production and the Work Force

At a meeting in Teheran with Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin late in 1943, Joseph Stalin offered this toast: "To American production, without which this war would have been lost".

Production Facts and Stats

While the war raged in Europe and Asia, it was quite a different story here in the U.S.

In 1943, the U.S. living standard was 16% higher than it was in 1939. Businesses prospered as wartime profits soared.

Large businesses with huge government contracts supplied the medicine that ailing economy needed.

When the war started, not all American production was considered first class: the Sherman tank was considered more vulnerable than the German Tiger tank; Liberty Ships, hastily welded, were known to break apart in heavy seas; U.S. torpedoes were known for malfunctioning.

A story in one of the major magazines reported a frustrated U.S. submarine crewman, with Japan's largest oil tanker in their sights, hit the ship with 8 duds before running out of ammunition.

Most of the American production was considered equivalent to their counterparts. Where the U.S. was stunningly superior was the massive amount of financing and production.

Bring on the Women

Within 5 months after Pearl Harbor, 750,000 women volunteered for labor jobs at production plants. Only 80,000 were taken because managers of plants were so leary of using women workers.

By 1944, 3,500,000 women were on the assembly lines making tremendous strides not only at maintaining production speed but greatly cutting down on pre-war production time. For example, by 1944 production time to make a bomber dropped from 200,000 man hours to 13,000.

In the same month that Stalin was toasting the U.S. production, which was about 6 months before the invasion of Normandy, factories had built up such an enormous amount weapons that Washingto ordered some factories to stop hiring and cut back on production.

Through out 1944, government committees were drawing up plans to convert factories to peace-time production.

Here's the governments totals of factory production from July 1, 1940 until July 31, 1945:

Aircraft 296, 429
Naval Ships 71,062
Cargo Ships 5,425
Artillery 372, 431
Small Arms 20, 086, 061
Small Arms ammo 41,585,000,000
Aircraft bombs 5,822,000
Tanks and propelled 102,351
Trucks 2,455,964


At the production plant shown below is a line of Corsairs - fighter planes with the fold-up wings for use on aircraft carriers. Over 6,000 were made in this plant alone.

The amazing thing is that at no time did military expenditures account for more than 40% of the gross national product.

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