Creating the Modern South: Millhands and Managers in Dalton, Georgia, 1884-1984

By Douglas Flamming | Go to book overview

11
LABORS OF WAR, WARS OF LABOR

The Crown Mill strike of 1939 pummeled mill-village paternalism, left it in shambles, and demanded the creation of a new order. But what sort of order, and on whose terms? The strike itself had been an effort to redefine the boundaries of authority within the mill, but its ambiguous outcome failed to resolve the issue. What lay beyond paternalism could not yet be foreseen. National trends -- most notably the outbreak of World War II -- soon intervened to complicate matters further. Industrial relations no longer hinged on provincial struggles between millhands and managers. Daily affairs in the small-town South were increasingly shaped by developments in Washington and across the globe. National unions and social welfare legislation had played a significant role in altering mill-village life during the 1930s, but the enormous impact of World War II made earlier changes seem relatively unimpressive. When Adolf Hitler's Germany invaded Poland in September 1939 (even as the Crown Mill strike continued), the conflict that erupted set in motion forces that would transform virtually every part of the globe -- including the American South.

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