America Needs a Strong Military Industrial Complex Essay

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America Needs a Strong Military Industrial Complex

By mid-1942, World War II was looking bleak for the Allied powers. The German Wehrmacht was blitzing through Soviet Russia, the Luftwaffe had laid waste to much of London, Rommel was about to take Africa, and the Japanese nearly had control of the Pacific. Fortunately, as the Axis started running low on materiel, America was increasing the Allied supply dramatically. This enormous production capacity displayed by the U.S. was the product of their new military-industrial complex, as plants across the country geared up production of weapons and combat vehicles and the government began pumping resources into the creation of new military-oriented production facilities. The American
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Stalin, in a toast to his brief allies, made it “to American production, without which this war would have been lost”, while Churchill, in his book recalling the war, claimed, “Through the materials and weapons [the U.S.] gave us we were actually able to wage war as if we were a nation of fifty-eight millions instead of forty-eight”.

While the onset of war led to a hugely inflated military production capacity, American industry never completed reversion back to the pre-war focus on purely civilian items. In fact, the value of military production facilities increased by 3300% between 1939 and 1944, and less than a third of all plants created during the war were converted to civilian production (Walton 551). Paul Koistinen writes,

By slow stages, large and sustained military expenditures produced an enduring Military-Industrial Complex with the self-serving consequences suggested by the World War II economy and, more seriously, with the potential for perpetuating the forces of modern warfare which had provided for the initial growth of such a complex (90).

This perpetuation fed right into the arms race created by the new Cold War between the USSR and NATO.

It was less than a year after war ended in Europe that Churchill revealed in his “Sinews of Peace” address that, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent”. The Soviet Union became extremely
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