Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II

By James J. Kimble | Go to book overview

6
The Nebraska Plan Goes National

The Omaha people certainly did an outstanding job. We are considering what we
might be able to do.
—Richard W. Slocum to Lessing J. Rosenwald, August 25, 1942

On August 19, 1942, Leonard T. Kittinger sent a surprising memorandum to his boss, A. I. Henderson. As head of the Materials Division Salvage Section, Kittinger was one of the War Production Board’s (WPB) central figures on the subject of scrap metal collection. Part of his unit’s assignment was to determine how much civilian scrap metal might be available for collection across the country and to plot ways of obtaining it. Since Pearl Harbor, news of ambitious scrapping efforts in various areas of the country had occasionally come across his desk. Most of them, however, had turned out to produce only a modest—and temporary—jump in local scrap totals. And then, out of the blue, had come the news of a truly massive statewide campaign in Nebraska.1

This stunning effort, Kittinger’s memo informed Henderson, had not been sponsored by salvage officials at all but by a large regional newspaper. “In three weeks,” it exclaimed, the Omaha World-Herald’s drive had produced “an average per capita of over 101 pounds for every citizen in the State!” The figure was so unprecedented that it might well have been a typo. And yet the midwestern newspaper had the documentation

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Prairie Forge: The Extraordinary Story of the Nebraska Scrap Metal Drive of World War II
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction - Home Front, Battlefront 1
  • 1 - The Scrap Deficit, or How Not to Win a War 12
  • 2 - Henry Doorly and the Nebraska Plan 32
  • 3 - Summertime Scrapping in the City 51
  • 4 - Mobilizing Greater Nebraska 77
  • 5 - The Second-Half Comeback 100
  • 6 - The Nebraska Plan Goes National 123
  • Epilogue - Home Front, Battlefront (Revisited) 146
  • Appendix 159
  • Notes 163
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 209
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