The Post World War II Boom: How America Got Into Gear

The Post World War II Boom: How America Got Into Gear

In the summer of 1945, as the Second World War drew to a close, the American economy was on the verge of an uncertain future.

Since President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s call in the late 1940s for the United States to serve as an arsenal of democracy, American industry has intensified to meet the challenge. The US factories built to mass-produce automobiles had been reorganized to produce planes, engines, pistols and other supplies at unprecedented rates. At the height of its war effort in late 1943 and early 1944, the United States produced almost as much ammunition as all of its allies and enemies combined.

On the home front, the massive mobilization effort during the Second World War had put the Americans back to work. Unemployment, which had reached 25 percent during the The Great Depression, which hovered at 14.6 percent in 1939, fell to 1.2 percent in 1944, a record level in the history of the country.

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Even before the end of the war, American trade, military and government officials began to debate the question of the conversion of the country from military production to civilian production. In 1944, Donald Nelson of the War Production Board (WFB) proposed a plan that would convert inactive factories into civilian production. Powerful military and commercial leaders backed down and large-scale retraining plans were postponed.

In the summer of 1945, the Americans lived under wartime rationing policies for more than three years, including limits on commons such as rubber, sugar, gasoline, fuel oil, coffee, meat, butter, milk and soap . At the same time, the US government’s Office of Price Administration (OPA) has encouraged the public to save money (ideally by buying war bonds) for a better future. In his book A consumer republic: the politics of mass consumption in post-war America, Lizabeth Cohen reported that in 1945 Americans saved an average of 21% of their personal disposable income, up from just 3% in the 1920s.

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Vanniyar Adrian

Vanniyar Adrian is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering stories that resonate with readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, Ganesan has contributed to the media landscape for over a decade, covering a diverse range of topics including politics, technology, culture, and human interest stories.