Bonds served as a way for citizens to make an economic contribution to the war effort, but because interest on them accumulated slower than consumer prices rose, they could not completely preserve income which could not be readily spent during the war. Fiscal and financial matters were also addressed by other federal agencies. Between April and June , the period of the most stringent federal controls on inflation, the annual rate of inflation was just 3.
With wages rising about 65 percent over the course of the war, this limited success in cutting the rate of inflation meant that many American civilians enjoyed a stable or even improving quality of life during the war Kennedy, Improvement in the standard of living was not ubiquitous, however. In some regions, such as rural areas in the Deep South, living standards stagnated or even declined, and according to some economists, the national living standard barely stayed level or even declined Higgs, Labor unions and their members benefited especially.
By , approximately Despite the almost-continual crises of the civilian war agencies, the American economy expanded at an unprecedented and unduplicated rate between and The gross national product of the U. War-related production skyrocketed from just two percent of GNP to 40 percent in Milward, As Table 2 shows, output in many American manufacturing sectors increased spectacularly from to , the height of war production in many industries.
The wartime economic boom spurred and benefited from several important social trends. Foremost among these trends was the expansion of employment, which paralleled the expansion of industrial production. In , unemployment dipped to 1.
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Table 3 shows the overall employment and unemployment figures during the war period. Not only those who were unemployed during the depression found jobs. So, too, did about Almost 19 million American women including millions of black women were working outside the home by Though most continued to hold traditional female occupations such as clerical and service jobs, two million women did labor in war industries half in aerospace alone Kennedy, Employment did not just increase on the industrial front.
Civilian employment by the executive branch of the federal government — which included the war administration agencies — rose from about , in already a historical peak to 2. Migration was another major socioeconomic trend. The 15 million Americans who joined the military — who, that is, became employees of the military — all moved to and between military bases; Continuing the movements of the depression era, about 15 million civilian Americans made a major move defined as changing their county of residence.
African-Americans moved with particular alacrity and permanence: , left the South and , arrived in Los Angeles during alone. Migration was especially strong along rural-urban axes, especially to war-production centers around the country, and along an east-west axis Kennedy, , For instance, as Table 4 shows, the population of the three Pacific Coast states grew by a third between and , permanently altering their demographics and economies.
Workers at the lower end of the spectrum gained the most: manufacturing workers enjoyed about a quarter more real income in than in Kennedy, Again focusing on three war-boom states in the West, Table 5 shows that personal-income growth continued after the war, as well.
The Cold War Economy: Independent Institute
Source: Nash, Despite the focus on military-related production in general and the impact of rationing in particular, spending in many civilian sectors of the economy rose even as the war consumed billions of dollars of output. Hollywood boomed as workers bought movie tickets rather than scarce clothes or unavailable cars. Americans placed more legal wagers in and , and racetracks made more money than at any time before. Department-store sales in November were greater than in any previous month in any year Blum, Black markets for rationed or luxury goods — from meat and chocolate to tires and gasoline — also boomed during the war.
While all of the major belligerents were able to tap their scientific and technological resources to develop weapons and other tools of war, the American experience was impressive in that scientific and technological change positively affected virtually every facet of the war economy. For instance, the Manhattan Project to create an atomic weapon was a direct and massive result of a stunning scientific breakthrough: the creation of a controlled nuclear chain reaction by a team of scientists at the University of Chicago in December Under the direction of the U.
Army and several private contractors, scientists, engineers, and workers built a nationwide complex of laboratories and plants to manufacture atomic fuel and to fabricate atomic weapons. Though important and gigantic, the Manhattan Project was an anomaly in the broader war economy. Technological and scientific innovation also transformed less-sophisticated but still complex sectors such as aerospace or shipbuilding. Aerospace provides one crucial example. American heavy bombers, like the B Superfortress, were highly sophisticated weapons which could not have existed, much less contributed to the air war on Germany and Japan, without innovations such as bombsights, radar, and high-performance engines or advances in aeronautical engineering, metallurgy, and even factory organization.
Army Air Forces, several major private contractors, and labor unions Vander Meulen, 7. Between and , the hundred merchant shipyards overseen by the U. Four key innovations facilitated this enormous wartime output. First, the commission itself allowed the federal government to direct the merchant shipbuilding industry. Second, the commission funded entrepreneurs, the industrialist Henry J. Kaiser chief among them, who had never before built ships and who were eager to use mass-production methods in the shipyards.
These methods, including the substitution of welding for riveting and the addition of hundreds of thousands of women and minorities to the formerly all-white and all-male shipyard workforces, were a third crucial innovation. By adapting well-known manufacturing techniques and emphasizing easily-made ships, merchant shipbuilding became a low-tech counterexample to the atomic-bomb project and the aerospace industry, yet also a sector which was spectacularly successful.
Reconversion from military to civilian production had been an issue as early as , when WPB Chairman Nelson began pushing to scale back war production in favor of renewed civilian production. Meaningful planning for reconversion was postponed until and the actual process of reconversion only began in earnest in early , accelerating through V-E Day in May and V-J Day in September. The most obvious effect of reconversion was the shift away from military production and back to civilian production.
As Table 7 shows, this shift — as measured by declines in overall federal spending and in military spending — was dramatic, but did not cause the postwar depression which many Americans dreaded. Rather, American GDP continued to grow after the war albeit not as rapidly as it had during the war; compare Table 1. Reconversion spurred the second major restructuring of the American workplace in five years, as returning servicemen flooded back into the workforce and many war workers left, either voluntarily or involuntarily.
For instance, many women left the labor force beginning in — sometimes voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily. In , about a quarter of all American women worked outside the home, roughly the same number who had held such jobs in and far off the wartime peak of 36 percent in Kennedy, At a macroeconomic scale, the war not only decisively ended the Great Depression, but created the conditions for productive postwar collaboration between the federal government, private enterprise, and organized labor, the parties whose tripartite collaboration helped engender continued economic growth after the war.
The U. Possessed of an economy which was larger and richer than any other in the world, American leaders determined to make the United States the center of the postwar world economy. Even before the war ended, the Bretton Woods Conference in determined key aspects of international economic affairs by establishing standards for currency convertibility and creating institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the precursor of the World Bank. Adams, Michael C.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, Anderson, Karen. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Air Force History Support Office. Air Force, Blum, John Morton. In Finland, the Soviets found this out the hard way.
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Compared to their Finnish counterparts, Soviet officers suffered from a distinct lack of expertise, experience, and inventiveness. Executive impotency, pervasive disorder, substandard education—these all stemmed in some way from a dearth of capable officers. In Soviet Russia, however, there was a very necessary distinction between what one thought in private and what one was willing to share in public. Stalin might have been keen to learn from the Finnish fiasco, but his pragmatic forbearance did not extend to an examination of his own mistakes.
Their criticisms led to the introduction of a performance-based review process. On August 12 th , , the Central Committee, acting on the advice of Shaposhnikov and others, instituted a unified command structure. The office of political commissar was downgraded, while junior commanders were given the final word on all military-related matters.
If, for whatever reason, an individual or a group of individuals refused to carry out a designated task, commanders were authorised to use full force to ensure compliance. Officers were also required to increase their workload, with military academies making their courses longer and more rigorous. To keep track of their progress or lack thereof , units were expected to conduct regular drills, making sure to concentrate on combined arms operations.
This fixation on recurrent feedback was most pronounced during the winter of , when Timoshenko oversaw a number of army-wide exercises intended to give the Stavka an opportunity to evaluate the impact of its post-Finland reforms. Although it was obvious to those in attendance that much work still had to be done, it appeared as if the army had adapted well to the recent changes, and that this, in turn, had enhanced its effectiveness as a fighting force. As of yet, there is no definitive answer to that question. Some scholars insist that the story of the first few months of Operation Barbarossa is one of overwhelming German dynamism.
We all know that the protracted Russian retreat of was a tragedy. But it was not an existential disaster. By December, the German onslaught had stuttered to a halt on the outskirts of a snow covered Moscow, while the Stavka had managed to assemble enough forces to launch a blunting counter-offensive. There is no doubt that the peculiar geophysical features of European Russia and the failure of German decision-makers to define a set of clear political objectives played an important role.
In the end, it was the Red Army that turned the tide on the Eastern Front, and its ability to do so was arguably down to the reforms which had been introduced during and after the Finnish war. One way of approaching this conundrum is to posit a counterfactual scenario in which the Russo-Finnish conflagration never took place.
We can say with some certainty that the failure of the Red Army to break through the Finnish lines in December was the principal source of the subsequent military reform programme. It is therefore reasonable to assume that if the war had not occurred, or if the outcome had been different, then the Red Army would have been in a much weaker—even critical—condition come June Also see: Sheinis, Zinovy.
Cliometric Approaches to War
Maxim Litvinov Moscow: Progress Publishers, pp. Also refer to, Thomas, Martin. Taylor, AJP. Like Hitler, Stalin was eager to avoid having to fight a war on two fronts. Kennedy-Pipe op. Finland, London: Davis-Poynter, pp.
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Clements, Jonathan. Memoirs, New York: Pantheon Books, pp. Far from inspiring a communist uprising, the Soviet invasion had a unifying impact on Finnish society. Van Dyke op. General Aleksei Burislov and his staff utilised artillery and shock troops to break through the Austro-Hungarian lines at their weakest point.
The resulting gaps were then exploited by the bulk of the Russian army. The T tank's basic design was optimal, and continual development of industrial processes allowed it to be produced in greater numbers than any other armoured vehicle during the war. Medium self-propelled guns were reasonably successful in the pure antitank role, but larger-calibre guns would become more common on heavier chassis, which could better handle their heavy recoil and carry an adequate provision of their large ammunition.
The T was an older tank reaching the end of its production in , and there were several hundred fielded already. The T was originally armed with a mm gun; this was upgraded to a higher-velocity mm, then finally to an mm gun in a bigger turret. The SU and the later SU mounted high-velocity guns and were designed for anti-tank work. The SU mounted the lower-velocity mm M howitzer, and was mainly used as battlefield assault artillery against infantry.
Soviet heavy tank production was constantly in danger of cancellation during the war, and only continued thanks to constant improvement and liberal doses of political interference. These vehicles required significantly more resources to produce than the T medium tank, and were always outmatched by it in some significant way. The most successful were the later IS-2 tank and heavy self-propelled guns, whose large-calibre firepower was generally useful against both soft and hard targets. Soviet high command had examined and rejected the mm Ds Gun for the IS2, despite its very high penetration, as it was not able to provide the high explosive support needed against soft targets.
The IS-3 was an IS-2 with new, advanced hull and turret armour. It saw no combat in World War II. KV-8 was a flamethrower tank. Like the KV-2 it was intended for use as an assault weapon against infantry, but in a hull mount would have a much lower profile, and be cheaper and easier to produce. They were both used as heavy assault guns; and both were useful as Anti Tank weapons. The s D25 Gun could penetrate almost any German Tank, and the s ML20 had long been used against enemy armour; although it had a low velocity, the massive shell could inflict considerable damage through concussive effects.
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