David R. Henderson  

Data Bleg on Post-WWII Transition

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I'm completing a study on how quickly the U.S. economy transitioned after WWII from a wartime economy with strong elements of central control to a relatively free-market economy. I've got all that. What I'm missing is stories such as, "The Ford plant at River Rouge transitioned from producing airplanes, military trucks, and tanks to producing x thousand civilian cars in 1947." I've read some of the basic books on the auto industry and they tend to devote only a few pages to the transition.

My request: Can anyone direct me to some good data or even some good stories for the auto industry? Are there any other industries on which there are good data and/or stories?

Thanks in advance.


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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Ironman writes:

You can get a good overview at the Ford Motor History site, which breaks down the companies history by facility (read down the left-side menu for a general timeline with links to more detailed history.)

Fun side note: See this article discussing Ford's Willow Run factory, where the company manufactured B-24 Liberator bombers during WWII. Its layout was rather strongly "influenced" by county-level tax avoidance considerations.

Patrick R. Sullivan writes:

You might try contacting Alan Greenspan for help. I seem to remember him writing about being on top of that kind of statistical data when it was happening.

Rebecca Burlingame writes:

I found a paragraph about WWII production at Ford Motor Company that was interesting, in An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power, by John Steele Gordon. It's on page 354.

Also, Illustrated History of Ford by George H. Dammann, has four pages of illustrated wartime production.

Milton Recht writes:

On a similar topic, there is a lot of data and a lot written about Oak Ridge, TN, otherwise know as Atomic City during WWII. It went from a population of a few thousand in 1942 to almost 100,000 by 1945 to develop the uranium and the atomic bombs for the Manhattan Project to end WWII. Within a couple of years after WWII, Oak Ridge reverted to civilian control and enterprises.

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