US Supplies In WWII Essay, Research Paper
Some people say that the most devastating war in the history of the world has been World War II. First of all, what is a war? Webster’s Dictionary says that the definition of war is an armed contest between states or nations any contest or strife, such as a war of words. As one can see, World War II was a contest between states or nations. It began with a simple little conflict in Europe in 1939. This conflict involved Germany and an Anglo-French coalition but eventually widened to include most of the nations of the world. It ended in 1945, leaving a new world order dominated by the United States and the USSR. As mentioned before, World War II has been the most devastating war humans have ever been involved with. The question of why can be answered in the three reasons listed below. First is that it involved the commitment of nations’ entire human and economic resources. Second is the blurring of distinction between combatant and noncombatant, and third is the expansion of the battlefield to include all of the enemy’s territory. The involvement of nations’ entire human and economic resources is the first and most important reason. This ties into the end of the war with the United States and the USSR being world powers. This could have never happened if the United States entire human and economic resources weren’t involved in the war and if most of the United States resources had not went to help the USSR. The United States at the time of the war was almost a world power. It was a strong country that attempted to stay out of the war as long as possible but still help nations in need. The United States did not fight the war in Europe for a few years but it began fighting it at home. More than 60 million Americans helped the war effort by working in factories and farms. The War Production Board was created to oversee all of this production. Chairman of the War Production Board, Donald Nelson remarked, “The American war-production job was probably the greatest achievement of all time. It makes the seven wonders of the ancient world look like the doodlings of a small boy on a rainy Saturday afternoon.” No doubt about it, war production was a great achievement. Six million women were added to the labor force. Old men who had once been retired returned to work and the unemployed soon found jobs. Production increased. Between 1940 and the end of 1944, the production of military aircraft rose from 23,000 per annum to 96,000. Tank production was increased from 4,000 in 1940-41 to almost 30,000 in 1943. Car plants such as the Detroit Chrysler one started to assemble jeeps and tanks instead of the luxeray cars. All of this effort in production turned out billions of supplies that helped win the war. Some examples are: 4,490,000 bayonets, 519,122,000 pairs of socks, 634,569 jeeps, 237,371,000 cans of insect repellent, 3,076,000,000 lbs. of beef, 7,570 railroad locomotives, 2,679,819 machine guns, 597,613 leg splints, 25,065,834,000 rounds of .30 cal. Ammunition, 1,024,000 pairs of panties for WACs, 476,628 antitank bazookas, 1,397,000,000 lbs. of coffee, 7,309,000 500-lb. bombs, 3,242,017 hot-water bottles, 113,967 combat vehicles, 106,466,000 tent pins, and much, much more. The amount the American worker made to provide for the war was staggering. What is even more staggering is that all of this was just for the American army. The United States produced even more to help other countries that include Great Britain, China, and the USSR. The United States was able to help these countries because of the Lend-Lease Act passed by Congress in March of 1941. The Lend-Lease Act was an act that authorized the president of transfer, lease, or lend “any defense article” to “the government of any country whose defense the President seems vital to the defense of the Untied States.” When the program had been terminated in 1945, over $50 billion in Lend-Lease aid had been shipped to Great Britain, the USSR, and China. The United States helped Great Britain a great deal but the amount given does not compare to the aid that the USSR received. Great Britain received 7,411 aircraft, 5,128 tanks, 4,932 antitank weapons, 4,005 machine guns, 9 torpedo boats, 4 submarines, and 14 minesweepers. Great Britain’s aid was in the thousands but the USSR’s was in the millions. Beginning in the summer of 1941, the United States contributed the following materials to the USSR: 2,680,000 tons of steel 170,400 tons of aluminum 29,400 tons of tin 240,000 tons of copper, 330,000 telephone sets and some one million miles of cable 2,000 radar sets 5,000 radio receivers 900,000 tons of projectiles and explosives 3,786,000 tires 49,000 tons of leather 18 million pairs of shoes more than six million tons of provisions three million tons of gasoline 900,000 tons of chemical products and 700,000 trucks. Much of this was delivered to factories for the manufacture of sheet aluminum, rubber and pipelines Most of the aid the United States offered went to the USSR as one can see by the number of supplies sent. World War II was one of the most devastating wars in the history of the world yet it brought out the best in people. People helped other people. The help came from home where millions of women worked in factories to produce aid for Americans and others. Help also came from the battlefield where one American may have offered a Russian a smoke to calm his nerves or the help may have come from the shoes a poor little Russian girl received so her feet wouldn’t freeze. Help came from all over but most of it was from the United States in the form of supplies to help armies win the war. At the end of the war, the U.S. is estimated to have spent $341 billion, including $50 billion for lend-lease supplies, of which $31 billion went to Britain, $11 billion to the USSR, $5 billion to China, and $3 billion to 35 other countries. The aid given to countries is not a waste of time nor money. If this had not taken place the war just may not have been won. Maybe this goes along with you have to give a little to get a little.