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Prolific munitions production keyed America's triumph in World War II but so did the complex economic controls needed to sustain that production. Artillery, tanks, planes, ships, trucks, and weaponry of every kind were constantly demanded by the military and readily supplied by American business. While that relationship was remarkably successful in helping the U.S. win theProlific munitions production keyed America's triumph in World War II but so did the complex economic controls needed to sustain that production. Artillery, tanks, planes, ships, trucks, and weaponry of every kind were constantly demanded by the military and readily supplied by American business. While that relationship was remarkably successful in helping the U.S. win the war, it also raised troubling issues about wartime economies that have never been fully resolved. Paul Koistinen's fourth installment of a monumental five-volume series on the political economy of American warfare focuses on the mobilization of national resources for a truly global war. Koistinen comprehensively analyzes all relevant aspects of the World War II economy from 1940 through 1945, describing the nation's struggle to establish effective control over industrial supply and military demand-and revealing the growing partnership between the corporate community and the armed services. Koistinen traces the evolution of federal agencies mobilizing for war--including the National Defense Advisory Commission, the Office of Production Management, and the Supply Priorities and Allocation Board-and then focuses on the work of the War Production Board from 1942-1945. As the war progressed, the WPB and related agencies oversaw the military's supply and procurement systems; stabilized the economy while financing the war; closely monitored labor relations; and controlled the shipping and rationing of fuel and food. In chronicling American mobilization, Koistinen reveals how representatives of industry and the armed services expanded upon their growing prewar ties to shape policies for harnessing the economy, and how federal agencies were subsequently riven with dissension as New Deal reformers and anti-New Deal corporate elements battled for control over mobilization itself. As the armed services emerged as the principal customers of a command economy, the military-industrial nexus consolidated its power and ultimately succeeded in bending the reformers to its will. The product of exhaustive archival research, Arsenal of World War II shows that mobilization meant more than simply harnessing the economy for war-it also involved struggles for power and position among a great many interest groups and ideologies. Nearly two decades in the making, it provides an ambitious and enormously insightful overview of the emergence of the military-industrial economy, one that still resonates today as America continues to wage wars around the globe....

Title : Arsenal of World War II: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1940-1945
Author :
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ISBN : 9780700613083
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 672 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Arsenal of World War II: The Political Economy of American Warfare, 1940-1945 Reviews

  • Paul
    2018-11-25 00:57

    World War II – the era covered in this fourth volume of Paul Koistinenen's five-volume Political Economy of American Warfare – is the cauldron in which all the elements of the contemporary Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) combine into an institutional, military and economic whole. It was military production - production of weapons of destruction designed to kill millions – which dragged the U.S. out of depression. The scale of this military production was phenomenal. The level of military output demanded by President Roosevelt in 1942 "would total approximately 50 percent of the estimated GDP". To achieve this extraordinary output level, the War Production Board (WPB) "had to turn immediately to converting the civilian economy to war output" (p. 276). This economic achievement had deep political implications. "Relying on plenty for mobilizing a war economy had one fundamental drawback. Unmatched prosperity was brought about by direct and indirect spending for the armed forces. That acted to elevate an authoritarian military to a dominant power position in a democratic society and contractually tied it to the corporate structure". With the Cold War, "[l]arge financial outlays for the armed forces became permanent. The result was the military-industrial complex. As during World War II, that complex operated to the immediate economic benefit of most within the society. In the long run, however, it created profound problems for America" (p. 515).