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America Gets Ready For War!. FDR and the US after Pearl Harbor: “Dr. New Deal Becomes Dr. Win the War”. Pearl Harbor gives FDR new powers. War Powers Act (December, 1941) FDR is given complete authority Supreme Court justice James F. Byrnes chosen to head the Office of War Mobilization (OWM)

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America gets ready for war

America Gets Ready For War!

FDR and the US after Pearl Harbor: “Dr. New Deal Becomes Dr. Win the War”

Pearl harbor gives fdr new powers
Pearl Harbor gives FDR new powers

War Powers Act (December, 1941)

  • FDR is given complete authority

  • Supreme Court justice James F. Byrnes chosen to head the Office of War Mobilization (OWM)

  • Hundreds of new agencies set up to control every part of American life

The military grows
The military grows

  • Only 1.6 million Americans in the military before Pearl Harbor; 16 million men recruited after

  • 350,000 women served in WACS, WAVES, SPARS

  • The Pentagon: the world’s largest building opens in 1942; 35,000 employees

Calling all volunteers
Calling All Volunteers!

  • Office of Civilian Defense (OCD)

  • “An hour a day for the USA”

    • Air raid wardens

    • Victory Gardens: produced 40% of all veggies

    • Scrap metal/rubber/newspaper collections

War and industry
War and Industry

  • “If you are going to try to go to war in a capitalist country you have to let business make money out of the process or business won’t work.”

  • –Secretary of War Henry Stimson

War production board wpb
War Production Board (WPB)

Established in Jan. 1942

1. Allocate scarce materials to industry

2. Require companies to produce war supplies instead of civilian goods

3. Make war profitable for corporations

guaranteed profits

tax write-offs

no prosecutions for anti-trust violations


  • Car factories make planes and tanks

  • Merry-go-round factory makes guns

  • Pinball-machine factory makes bullets

The miracle of production
The miracle of production

  • In 1941, only 15% of industrial production was for military purposes; by June, 1942 over HALF!

  • The U.S. makes more war supplies than all of the Axis nations combined (Twice as much as Germany, five times as much as Japan)

  • Factories run 24 hrs/day, 7 days/wk.

  • 300,000 military aircraft, 86,000 tanks, 2.6 million machine guns, 6 million tons of bombs, 86,000 warships

  • New technologies: synthetic rubber, faster processes for building ships, etc.

The transformation of america
The transformation of America

  • FDR: “Something is happening that Adolf Hitler does not understand… it is the miracle of production.”

  • Stalin: “To American production, without which this war would have been lost.”

  • The largest 100 corporations received 70% of the contracts; 500,000 small businesses closed

  • Southwestern “Sunbelt” grows in population; “boomtowns”

  • 60 new military bases in the South, the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, etc.

More numbers
More numbers…

  • 17 million new jobs; overtime for everyone

  • Gross national product (GNP) increases from $90.5 billion in 1939 to $211.9 billion in 1945

  • Crop prices double between 1940 and 1945

  • Inflation: 15%+

Paying for the war
Paying for the war

The U.S. spends $250 million a day on the war!

Federal budget grows:

  • $9 billion in 1940 (Defense spending: 9% of GNP)

  • $98 billion in 1945 (Defense spending: 46% of GNP)

    War bond sales:

    $40 billion sold to small investors, $80 billion to companies and the wealthy

    Revenue Act of 1942: payroll deduction system created; top tax rate raised to 94% in 1944 (today, the highest is 35% if you make over $373,650)

Office of price administration opa
Office of Price Administration (OPA)

  • Established in Apr.1942

  • Imposed price controls on products to stop the massive inflation brought on by higher incomes and a lack of consumer goods

  • Rationing program: gas, coffee, sugar, butter, cheese, meat, etc.

Putting the people to work
Putting the people to work

  • War Manpower Commission (WMC)

  • Directed the mobilization of workers

  • National War Labor Board (NWLB)

  • Settled disputes between labor unions and corporations, stopped strikes

  • Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC)

  • Halted discrimination in defense industries and government- benefited African Americans and women (6 million new female workers)

  • Strong unions: wages of workers increase 50%; paid vacation time, health benefits, pensions, long workweeks, overtime pay