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The arsenal of democracy drops a stitch : WWII industrial mobilization and the Real Silk Hosiery Mills of Indianapolis, Indiana

By Carol Marie Wilson

Abstract

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)Conventional interpretations of WWII hold that the war brought the United States out of the Great Depression and laid the path for future economic prosperity. However, this was not the case for all businesses and industries. During WWII, unprecedented production output was required of U.S. industries to supply the great “Arsenal of Democracy.” Industrial mobilization required the creation of new agencies and commissions to manage the nation’s resources. These organizations created policies that deeply impacted U.S. industries involved in war production. Policies governing such areas as the allocation of raw materials, transportation of finished goods, and distribution of war contracts created challenges for businesses that often resulted in lost productivity and in some cases, loss of profitability. Government regulation of the labor force and labor problems such as labor shortages, high absenteeism and turnover rates, and labor disputes presented further challenges for businesses navigating the wartime economy. Most studies of WWII industrial mobilization have focused on large corporations in high priority industries, such as the aircraft, petroleum, or steel industries, which achieved great success during the war. This thesis presents a case study of The Real Silk Hosiery Mills of Indianapolis, Indiana, a company that is representative of small and mid-sized companies that produced lower priority goods. The study demonstrates that the policies created by the military and civilian wartime agencies favored large corporations and had a negative affect on some businesses like Real Silk. As such,the economic boost associated with the war did not occur across the board

Topics: Textile history, WWII, Hosiery Industry, Silk Industry, Real Silk Hosiery Mills, Industrial Mobilization, War Production Board, Labor, WWII home front, war production, war industries, Real Silk Hosiery Mills, Inc. -- History, Real Silk Hosiery Mills, Inc. -- Finance, Hosiery industry -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- History, Hosiery, Silk -- Production control -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- History, Silk industry -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- Employees, Silk manufacturers -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- History, Retail trade -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- History, Textile industry -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- History, Business enterprises -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- History, Manufactures -- Indiana -- Indianapolis -- History, World War, 1939-1945 -- Manpower -- United States, Labor supply -- United States -- History, Industrial mobilization -- United States -- History, Business and politics -- United States -- History, United States. War Production Board, Progressivism (United States politics) -- History, United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945, World War, 1939-1945 -- Economic aspects -- United States, World War, 1939-1945 -- Economic aspects -- Indiana -- Indianapolis, World War, 1939-1945 -- Women, United States -- Social conditions -- 1933-1945, Civil service -- United States, Occupations -- United States, Women -- Employment
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:scholarworks.iupui.edu:1805/4664
Provided by: IUPUIScholarWorks

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