The Army and Industrial Manpower

The Army and Industrial Manpower

The Army and Industrial Manpower

The Army and Industrial Manpower

Excerpt

Over the years the Army in peacetime has become accustomed to performing tasks that have had only remote if any bearing on its role as a defender of the country and guardian of law and order, while in time of war its energies have been concentrated on fighting the enemy. But as war has changed in character and has come to be more "total," more mechanized, so the role of the Army has broadened. Activities that in former times were extraneous have become inherently part of the conduct of war. State- craft, diplomacy, scientific research, and business management have become part of the soldier's stock in trade, and now the labor expert-in-uniform has taken his place alongside the soldier-diplomat and the military scientist.

As a result of its World War I experience, the War Department in 1920 was given responsibility for planning the mobilization of industry. As the full scope of responsibility gradually developed, the mobilization planners brought industrial labor within the range of their endeavors, but when World War II placed unprecedented demands on American industry the Army finally found itself drawn into a position with respect to labor that was not precisely according to plan. The nature of the problems that the Army then faced and the major steps taken to deal with them make up the substance of the story told in the following pages.

To write a comprehensive and complete history of the Army's activities in the field of industrial labor problems would mean treating the subject thoroughly on a number of levels -- the service commands, the various technical services, Army Service Forces headquarters, the Bureau of Public Relations of the War Department, and the Under Secretary's office -- and it would lead outside the War Department as well. It would mean dealing systematically with each of the capacities in which the War Department became involved in labor matters, namely, as the agency principally responsible for the procurement of military materiel, as the direct employer of civilian labor in government-owned and government-operated plants, as the chief military claimant for the use of the nation's manpower, as the agency . . .

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