Section 4: Making American Capitalism Corporate

Section 4: Making American Capitalism Corporate

“Second Industrial Revolution current section … Legitimating Capitalism … Jim Crow Capitalism … Fordism … New Deal Capitalism … Capitalism at War”
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Summaries

  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Second Industrial Revolution > The Second Industrial Revolution - Part II
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Second Industrial Revolution > Montgomery Wards: Bringing Goods to the Countryside
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Legitimating Capitalism > Henry Frick
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Jim Crow Capitalism > New South Capitalism
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Jim Crow Capitalism > The IWW and the
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Fordism > Ford
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Fordism > Ford, General Motors, and Finance
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > New Deal Capitalism > The Great Depression
  • Making American Capitalism Corporate > Capitalism at War > Strategic Bombing

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Second Industrial Revolution > The Second Industrial Revolution – Part II

  • So today I’m wearing my power tie because we’re going to talk about the era when the US really rises to economic superpower status, and that’s the period in between the Civil War and World War I, roughly.
  • It’s not just the quantity and that kind of change that matters.
  • All of these changes are going to produce a new United States and a new kind of capitalism.
  • Now the most important force perhaps in all of this integration and linking and speeding up is the railroad. As railroad networks are extended throughout the country and as railroad traffic gets more and more efficient, especially as that traffic passes through and out of Chicago, Chicago becoming this sort of major hub in the national railroad network.
  • Grain farmers, even in northern Italy, are now competing with grain farmers in North Dakota, and that has tremendous effects.
  • If grain is turned into a commodity because it’s assembled together in bigger and bigger piles so that you can’t tell apart the grain made by Farmer Smith from the grain made by Farmer Jones, what happens to pigs is actually a kind of disassembly process.
  • To top off the process, railroad companies invent refrigerated cars, which large meat companies then use to transport pork and eventually other kinds of meat all around the country, pushing local farmers and local butchers increasingly to the side as large integrated corporations come to be the main purveyors of meat in the United States.
  • Now all of this integration of markets and commodification of the basic necessities of life is taking place in the context of a significant change in money, a significant change in the quantity of currency in the economy.
  • Over the next 15 years after the end of the Civil War, the federal government pulls those greenbacks out of circulation, and soon the only thing circulating in the economy in terms of money is gold as well as paper representations of gold, like checks and things like that.
  • If you’re a producer of primary commodities, particularly a small-scale producer, like let’s say a cotton farmer or a grain farmer or a pig farmer, what happens is that the commodities that you make and you sell are decreasing all the time in price.
  • It’s good for consumers who want to buy those products, the grain, the pig, the so on and so forth, but it’s pretty bad for you, especially if you’ve borrowed money.
  • Because if you borrowed money in 1875 when $1 was worth less and brought you less goods and you’re now paying it back in 1881 when $1 is worth more and it costs you more goods in order to get that $1, you are paying a very high price for your credit.
  • So this long change in the relationship between currency and commodities which happens in the course of the Second Industrial Revolution is going to create a big shift of wealth from primary producers to people who lend money and also to those who can produce really large quantities of commodities, like the new factories and the new industrialists.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Second Industrial Revolution > Montgomery Wards: Bringing Goods to the Countryside

  • As Macy’s revolutionized the selling of goods in the city, so did Aaron Montgomery Ward revolutionize selling goods in the country.
  • In 1872, he releases his very first catalog, selling goods not in a particular store but just through the mail, through looking at a catalog.
  • At 19 he came to Chicago to work at one of that city’s largest dry good houses.
  • From there, he started working out the supply chain, selling goods, trying to sell all these goods made in Chicago in rural country stores.
  • In his travels he met lots of retailers and consumers alike up and down the Mississippi Valley, where he was struck again and again by how much more expensive things were in the country than in the city.
  • The new railroads presented a new possibility, having the store nowhere near the customer, selling goods only through a catalog.
  • In 1872, he and his brother had gathered the capital necessary to carry out this new experiment with the catalog.
  • In the late 19th century, as we’ve discussed, prices were falling everywhere, so cheaper goods were always in demand because of the deflation.
  • So Ward recognized this, and he reached out to these rural communities trying to sell the goods.
  • It sold the most common things that people in the country would want, a very narrow list, just 200 kinds of goods.
  • So how was he able to convince them that he was one of them? And the answer was by embracing the language of the political movements of that particular point in time, the Grangers and all their criticisms of eastern bankers and big cities were embraced by Aaron Montgomery Ward, even as he operated out of Chicago.
  • People were identifying as country people, and the catalogs reaffirmed it.
  • So the Montgomery Ward catalog tapped into that anger and rural identity even as it was itself coming out of the big city.
  • It made everyone a Chicagoan in how they dressed, in material goods but reaffirmed a political identity as a country person, as producers, as people who make things rather than as consumers, as farmers who grow the crops, as opposed to city people who just eat them.
  • So this contradiction was smoothed over by this political idea of the Grange as the Grange Supply House, enabling these people, who were most of the population, able to buy these goods and yet maintain their identity as good country folk.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Legitimating Capitalism > Henry Frick

  • If Carnegie is the most well remembered steel magnate of the 19th century, he is not historically the most reviled.
  • It was Frick, who along with Andrew Carnegie, that really built the Carnegie Steel Company into something momentous, something memorable.
  • Frick had assembled a collection of all the coal fields in Pennsylvania, near where Carnegie had his steel plants.
  • They did this through what Carnegie had called the strictest economies, that is, by cutting the wages of their workers again, and again, and again.
  • A very famous strike occurred in 1892 at one of Carnegie’s steel plants at Homestead, Pennsylvania.
  • At Homestead, there had been a strike only a few years earlier, or rather, a threatened strike in which, when Frick and Carnegie were out of town, one of the local managers capitulated to the local union.
  • In this a contract was established that gave them, the workers, everything that Carnegie and Frick fought so hard against.
  • So the poor and penniless from Chicago would sign on for $1 a day and three square meals to come to places like Homestead and push the workers around to make sure that they could not go on strike.
  • Frick was denounced as a tyrant in popular songs, and poems, and essays.
  • Frick came to represent everything the Carnegie was not.
  • He was seen as someone distant from the actual operations of the Carnegie Steel Corporation.
  • You see, the Carnegie Steel Corporation was organized in the new way that corporations were in the Second Industrial Revolution at the end of the 19th century, with massive amounts of stock being offered, with a clear separation of owner and manager.
  • This clear separation of owner and manager that was perhaps muddled in earlier parts of the 19th century was becoming ever more clear in the late 19th. The Carnegie Steel Corporation’s very structure allows for this moral distinction between Frick, on the one hand, as the raw, naked, vengeful, unrepentant face of industrial capitalism, and the other, Carnegie, with his gospel of wealth, who advocated the building of libraries.
  • This confrontation between the two men came to a head in the late 1890s as Carnegie went on speaking tours extolling the virtues of Christian brotherhood and the necessity of giving back to the poor in the form of, of course, libraries and hospitals, not actual money to the poor.
  • Everything came to a head as Carnegie opened a new library in Homestead, Pennsylvania, in which he told the assembled crowd that if he had been in charge, there would have been no violence 1892.
  • Frick, understandably, after he’d given his life making money, taking the hits for this other man, was furious and refused to speak to him ever again.
  • In 1919, basically 20 years later, Carnegie and Frick were older men.
  • Carnegie, not fully realizing what he had done to this man’s life, to this man’s legacy, sent him a note, trying to make up on his death bed.
  • “Please tell Mr. Carnegie I’ll see him soon- in hell, where we are both going.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Jim Crow Capitalism > New South Capitalism

  • Before the Civil War, the South’s white cotton planters had been, by any measure, the wealthiest people in the United States.
  • Over the 10 or 15 years after the Civil War, they came to some fairly coherent conclusions, and most of the political and economic leaders of the former Confederate states would have agreed to these propositions.
  • So they would spend years going to great lengths to make sure that the reconstruction amendments, which mandated the end of slavery and the equality before the law of African Americans, were simply not going to be enforced in any systematic way in the South.
  • That was that the South should have, what they often called, home rule.
  • The South should be able to control its own political, and to some extent, its own economic destiny.
  • The South gets a lot of that independent political control, and they would be able to wield that control for over 100 years, to maintain the South as a segregated domain.
  • The idea of a New South- which is a phrase that comes to be more and more current on the lips of the promoters and politicians of the South from the 1870s onward- the idea of a New South, is a South that in some ways is much more like the North.
  • So maybe the most articulate exponent of the New South idea, was an Atlanta newspaper editor named Henry Grady.
  • By the 1870s, Grady had become the most prominent writer in what was becoming one of the most prominent New South towns.
  • The problem Grady identified in the South, can probably be best summed up by this one apocryphal story that he used to tell again and again in editorials and speeches.
  • Advocating for the South to become more of an independent, industrialized economy.
  • The South didn’t furnish a thing for that funeral, but the corpse and the hole in the ground.
  • There they put them away, and the clods rattled down on this coffin, and they buried them in a New York coat, in a Boston pair of shoes, and a pair of britches from Chicago, and a shirt from Cincinnati, leaving him nothing to carry into the next world with him to remind him of the country in which he lived, and for which he fought for four years, but the chill of blood in his veins, and the marrow in his bones.
  • So what did southern elites propose to do about this real divergence in economies of the North and South? For one thing, they looked at the North and they saw that the North’s railroad network was much more extensive, and dense, and technologically advanced than that of the South, even before Sherman and other Union generals had gone through, and they burned up all the railroad ties, and bent the rails around trees.
  • Now the South has lots of cotton fields, they also have lots of cheap labor.
  • So northern textile factories literally pack up, disassemble their factories, and move them down to North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia- Atlanta Henry Grady’s Atlanta, becomes a major textile center- and other southern states.
  • By about 1900, the South has become the center of textile production in the US. Now, the cheap labor that works in those factories, is almost all white.
  • Now there are laws that actually help to implement this, including laws that literally rent out convict labor from the south segregated plantations, to some of the most difficult kinds of road building and mining kinds of enterprises.
  • That, in turn, leads to another major phenomena, and probably the key and final component of the southern elite’s economic plan.
  • Once the great, big lumber mills in Michigan and Wisconsin and Minnesota have exhausted the local forest, attention turns to the southern longleaf pine forests.
  • Through all of these kinds of extractive industries, many people in the south become very wealthy.
  • So by the early 20th century, despite the attempts of people like Henry Grady and others to organize new systems of production and consumption, new networks of credit in the South, what you see is that the South is still, to a large extent, still a colonial economy.
  • It remains the case that 9 or 10 million southerners are trapped, in what is nearly a form of peonage, as cotton sharecroppers in the cotton fields that still stretch from South Carolina to Texas.
  • All of these phenomena would keep the South distinct, separate, and increasingly more poor than the rest of the country.
  • So that by the 1930s- 70 years after the Civil War, 50 years after Henry Grady crusaded for a new kind of southern economy- Franklin Roosevelt, the President of the United States, would still be labeling the South the nation’s economic problem number one.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Jim Crow Capitalism > The IWW and the “Bread and Roses” Strike

  • These unions were crushed by the reasons why unions lost again and again and again in the late 19th century- the overwhelming use of force by the state, the lack of organization and resources by the workers.
  • After the mine workers are crushed in 1904, there arises a new movement representing a more radical vision of class politics, the International Workers of the World, the IWW, the Wobblies.
  • Compare this speech at the inaugural meeting of the IWW with what you know about craft unionism and Gompers and the AFL, in Chicago.
  • “Fellow workers, this is the Continental Congress of the working class.
  • We are here to confederate the workers of this country into a working-class movement that shall have for its purpose the emancipation of the working class from the slave bondage of capitalism.
  • The preamble to its constitution read, quote, “The working class and the employing class have nothing in common.
  • There can be no peace as long as hunger and want are found among the millions of working people and the few who make up the employing class have all the good things in life.
  • The very nature of capitalism kept those good things which it produced away from the workers.
  • In this syndicalist vision, it would be a new workers’ paradise, when all the workers would rise up in a general strike across the country, shut everything down.
  • Now, this vision of the general strike was like any other strike, only bigger.
  • In their vision, the workers would then form committees and reopen all the factories and hospitals and restaurants under worker control.
  • This radical vision espoused by people like William Z. Foster was something far outside the bounds of conventional unionism, and certainly far outside everyday worker demands.
  • In Lawrence, Massachusetts, the textile mills were grinding the life out of their workers.
  • Workers, on average, did not live to be 40 years old.
  • Weakened by work, by housing, by poor diet, it sapped the very life out of people.
  • So reformers in Massachusetts desired to reduce the amount of time that people worked from 56 to 54 hours.
  • It’s out of this that emerges the most important strike of the teens, perhaps, the Lawrence strike of 1912, also known as the Bread and Roses strike.
  • Since there was just a distributed sense of stockholders who just wanted to maximize their profits and had no obligation to the workers other than market relationships, the conflict was inevitable.
  • Now, the workers went off strike in the middle of winter, in January of 1912.
  • The IWW, who believed in organizing the workers, went quickly to Lawrence.
  • It was both Big Bill Haywood and a guy named Joseph Ettor, who had cut his teeth in the Chicago labor movement, who went there to try and organize the workers to extract concessions from the management of, especially, the biggest employer, the American Woolen Company, as well as to radicalize the workers, to help them understand the syndicalist vision of the economy.
  • There was a strike on a Friday, and things were relatively disorganized.
  • He spoke to the crowd directly, and told them something that they had never heard before, that they were the most important people in the world, that their hands built the mills, that their hands ran the mills, that their work had made Billy Wood rich.
  • He called on the workers to stop random violence, but also to stop the mills.
  • ” By stopping work, workers would avoid injury.
  • Rather than destroying, simply picketing, simply not working.
  • As the strikers picketed the outside of the mills, they stop workers from going in, stopping anyone with a pail.
  • As Ettor wandered in the crowd that day and through the week, he made speeches, and encouraged unity between ethnic groups in all the languages that he spoke.
  • Among workers, there is only one nationality, one race, one creed.
  • He told native workers, quote, “Not to play the aristocrat because you speak English, are habituated to the country, have a trade, and are better paid. Throw in your lot with the low-paid. You must either reach down and lift them up, or they will reach up and pull you down.” This is a message of unity, of tolerance, of difference.
  • As they began to organize the workers in Lawrence, they reached out among these communities.
  • Workers and kids of workers could cross those ethnic lines.
  • It’s out of these moments that new kinds of connections are formed between ethnic groups, whether Jew and Belgian, German and Pole, or any of the other polyglot immigrants who now were the textile workers of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
  • It was not just these kinds of connections between workers and ethnic groups that made the strike successful.
  • The parents of the strikers sent their children to New York so that they could rely on resources there.
  • So there was a capitulation of the American Woolen Company to the workers.
  • In the aftermath of this, the IWW arranged through negotiations for raises not just for the highest paid workers, but also the lowest paid workers, a reduction in and totally no blacklisting of the workers who had gone out on strike.
  • So even though they had a radical agenda, the actual results of the Wobblies strike, of this Bread and Roses strike, the strike not just for bread, but for roses too, meant that the Wobblies had been successful.
  • Workers themselves did not care about this larger political radicalism, just as they had not cared for the Knights of Labor.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Fordism > Ford

  • The car has given us something- as people in their early ’20s said, something to work for.
  • To understand the car is to understand not just how things are made in capitalism, but also how they are sold, especially In the 20th century.
  • So in thinking about Ford and General Motors, we are examining two of the most important corporations, not just in making that most important product- the car- but in making modern capitalism.
  • What Ford did was take that luxury good and turn it into an everyday good.
  • So when you’re thinking about the history of Ford, you really have to think it from the production side, not from the finance or marketing side.
  • When Ford introduced the Model T in 1908, it was the result of many years of tinkering in one of those garages.
  • What happened to all those first models- A-B-C-F-K-N-R-S- is that they were an evolution in the process of making the Model T. He wrote in 1906, quote, “the greatest need today is a light low-priced car with up-to-date engine, of ample horsepower and built of the very best material.
  • How to reconcile the two is the great question for Ford.
  • Now when we think about the production at Ford, we usually think the assembly line.
  • He initially builders cars like a giant garage would have built them, with giant heaps of materials all strung about the work area.
  • So workers would go to and from these different heaps, grabbing the parts as they needed, assembling the cars on a stand.
  • An important transition for Ford then was to improve not just what they were building, but how they were building it.
  • Unlike other kinds of machinists, who focused on being flexible and being able to produce lots of different kinds of machines with their tools, Ford really focused on single-purpose tools, so that he and his team of mechanics were not just making cars, they were making the tools to make the cars.
  • He thought- as he toured the plant, how he saw the racks and racks and racks of pigs being slaughtered on hooks, sliding down gravity slides- he thought, if they can disassemble pigs, then we can assemble cars.
  • These older forms were all about disassembly And these were about putting things together, and coordinating workers across many different components of a car.
  • So it meant that you could actually move the parts to the worker themselves- and not just the parts that’s being assembled but also the components.
  • As these different assembly lines begin to pick up pace, begin to coordinate the work across the factory, they can very quickly see where and when bottlenecks were occurring in the production system, thus enabling Ford mechanics to develop new machines and techniques to speed up production further.
  • It enabled and spurred Ford to produce more and more and more.
  • Magnetos were a small part of the car that created a spark for the gas in a time before reliable electrical systems.
  • Similar amounts of productivity and efficiency were gained throughout the Ford plant, as these new assembly lines were introduced.
  • When the Model T was first introduced, and there was just static assembly with workers coming to and from the car back and forth to their heaps, it took 12 and a half hours to build a car.
  • The work at the Ford plant then was very repetitive.
  • So what’s the choice there for Ford? Either to pay the worker so much that he can never ever skip work, or give up on the entire factory.
  • So in 1914, Ford introduces the $5 day, which is about double the prevailing market wage.
  • Now after the $5 day is introduced of course, it’s celebrated as the sign of the beneficence of Henry Ford, of a new era of labor and capital accord.
  • He even himself talks about it that way, as a way to talk about making sure that Ford workers can buy Ford cars.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Fordism > Ford, General Motors, and Finance

  • Where Ford focuses on making the Model T cheaper and cheaper and cheaper, GM realizes that Americans want different kinds of cars.
  • While GM made all these different kinds of cars and developed new ways to sell them, Ford focused just on the Model T. He never developed finance.
  • Now for Ford, it was the Jews that were behind all the failures of capitalism.
  • So as Ford grew, he didn’t rely on New York finance in the way that either Alfred Sloan or William Durant did.
  • While GM set up GMAC to offer credit to its customer base, Ford instead- and this is kind of amazing to me that anyone did this at all- actually set up savings plans at the Ford dealerships, so that you could come in and open up a savings account where you could save for your Ford car.
  • The Ford weekly purchase plan would give you interest, only if you completed the savings for the Ford plan.
  • In 1927, Ford wrote that, “I sometimes wonder if we have lost our buying sense and fallen entirely under the spell of salesmanship.
  • ” This whole system of selling and credit was an anathema to Ford’s values, which were- I think we might give him a little credit- rooted less in antisemitism or a particular kind of antisemitism but also part of a worldview that privileged production and skilled labor over a world of consumption and de-skilled labor.
  • Ford, which had basically invented the American automobile industry, now controls only a fifth.
  • By the end of the 1920s, Ford is almost on the brink of going out of business, while GM is triumphant.
  • This is largely because of how they differently thought about sales and how they differently thought about credit, and in the end, how they thought about what the American consumer needed.
  • Ford focused too much of what he thought they needed, whereas Sloan focused on what they wanted.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > New Deal Capitalism > The Great Depression

  • In 1929, the Dow Jones average had been almost 10 times what it had been at the end of World War I. Stocks were rising rapidly.
  • If wages were trailing a little bit behind, nobody seemed that worried.
  • Nobody was worried, it seems, of an impending crash.
  • On October 24, 1929, the stock market opened for the day, and immediately, prices begin to plunge.
  • Once they did, it seemed that there was no stopping them.
  • There were rumors of dozens of suicides by stockbrokers and others who had borrowed heavily in order to buy stocks on margin.
  • Now, what usually happened in a circumstance like this was that banks and big investment firms got together and effectively guaranteed that there would be buyers for all sellers, that every stock that was offered would find a purchaser.
  • This generally supported the price and stopped the momentum of a fall.
  • As people who had borrowed heavily, business owners, and others faced calls for money to pay back their lenders, they had to let employees go.
  • So the price fall began to continue, the price fall and the wage fall.
  • The ripple effects spread out not just throughout US society, but throughout the industrialized world.
  • Unemployment also rose in those societies, and social instability began to rise as well.
  • People throughout the Western world stopped getting married, they stopped having children, birth rates dropped tremendously in this period, crime rates rose dramatically, and even bigger crimes would be the product of the social instability that resulted.
  • Because if we understand the causes, then perhaps we will have some clues as to what kind of policies to adopt to bring an economy back to recovery.
  • Certainly there’s been a great deal of criticism of over-speculation particularly in the stock markets, and there’s no doubt many people were over-leveraged.
  • Wages were not keeping up with corporate profits and what this meant was that actual purchasing power in the economy was not rising fast enough to meet the overall growth of the economy.
  • Others have pointed to many of the mistakes that were quite clearly made by banks, both in the United States and elsewhere, which led to massive financial instability.
  • This is perhaps the biggest financial and more broadly economic crash in the history of US economy.
  • In the history of the worldwide industrialized economy.
  • So it’s quite possible that many of these causes were happening at the same time, and what we see is a perfect storm.
  • It seems on the surface that Hoover should have been the man for the occasion.
  • He is the engineer who was sent to Europe to mastermind the US efforts to help war torn Europe recover from the devastation of World War I. And in 1927 he was sent by the federal government to help devastated Mississippi and Louisiana recover from the massive Mississippi River flood of that year.
  • He adopts a series of policies from others that turn out to not only fail but to actually make the situation worse.
  • That, in turn, devastates international trade, cutting off markets for US products, and providing simply more impetus for companies to put American workers out of a job.
  • Anything else- adopting, if you will, Henry Ford’s philosophy- anything else is simply going to make the situation worse.
  • Well, by 1932 many Americans think Andrew Mellon and Herbert Hoover have been proved wrong.
  • Every week, the situation seems to be getting worse.
  • Roosevelt wins a runaway victory, which isn’t surprising when the situation in the economy is that bad. But what is surprising, Benjamin Roth writes in his diary shortly after the victory, is the way in which everybody seems to have placed their faith, placed their last bet, on Roosevelt.
  • They seem to be, as he put it, simply marking time until Roosevelt was inaugurated.
  • They seem to believe that he is their last possible hope.
  • If they looked around the world, they could see that in fact that seem to be happening in other industrialized nations.
  • They could look at the terrifying things that seemed to be going on.
  • In particular, in places like Italy and Germany, where Mussolini was using economic instability to tighten his hold on Italian society.
  • Began to set the world- not just Europe, but the entire world- on a course for the greatest and most devastating war in history.
  • So we will spend the next few sub-sections looking at what Roosevelt did, what other Americans did, and how they steered not just the economy but the society and the politics of the United States in a different direction.

Making American Capitalism Corporate > Capitalism at War > Strategic Bombing

  • So between 1941 and 1945, the US drops about 3 million tons of bombs on Germany and Japan.
  • Of the 200,000 combat aircraft that the US builds in World War II, 35,000 were heavy bombers used for attacking the homelands of enemies.
  • Strategic bombers cost the US $10 billion overall during the war, or more than the entire 1940 federal budget.
  • It’s also something like a quarter of all US war deaths during World War II. 500,000 Germans and 500,000 Japanese civilians were killed.
  • So what could justify this investment of resources? And what could justify the direct violation, or so it seemed, of a longstanding rule within the overall laws of Western war, a rule which directly exempted noncombatants from deliberate attack by combatants? And strategic bombing was the deliberate attack by combatants on noncombatants.
  • To understand these shifts, you have to understand World War I and how that transformed people’s thinking about what modern war was like.
  • Maybe even more importantly, affect and limit their capacity to support the war through their industrial production which put the guns on the battlefield and the ammunition in the guns and the fuel in the trucks, and so on and so forth.
  • With another new technology, with a new technology that had emerged during World War I, the airplane, the military airplane, with this technology becoming more and more successful and more and more capable during the 1920s, thinkers began to reason that you could use aircraft to bomb the strategic productive capacity of economies, to destroy the factories that supported their war machines from the air, and limit their ability to actually carry out modern war.
  • If you could do that, thinkers reasoned, and if you could frighten the civilian population to such an extent that they would demand an end to war, policymakers and voters and civilians would all be much sooner to- they would come to the idea of peace much more readily than they had done in World War I. Thus, bombing factories, destroying or at least threatening civilian populations, these things would actually, in a way, be humane acts.
  • They would bring an end to war before it could last as long and be as bloody as it had been in 1914 and 1918.
  • After practicing by bombing Spanish cities as they intervene on the Nationalist side in Spanish Civil War, they are ready to go in 1939 and 1940.
  • Being stopped at the edge of the English Channel, unable yet to mount an invasion of Britain itself, Hitler and his closest associates decide that the thing to do is reduce Britain to surrender by bombing Britain’s civilian population from the air.
  • Now, as he watches London burn in late 1940, Arthur Harris, a Royal Air Force planner, who’s directing the mounting up of what is going to be a massive British bombing campaign against German cities, turns to an associate, and he says, “they are sewing the whirlwind.
  • What Harris and the Royal Air Force were planning was a deliberate series of attacks, most of them conducted at night with incendiary weapons, on Germany’s towns and cities, with the purpose of carrying out what was called aerial bombing, not precision attacks on military or industrial targets, but attacks deliberately designed to set ablaze the ancient medieval city centers of German towns, villages, and cities, and kill, displace, and ultimately break the will of Germany’s civilian population.
  • “The aim of the combined bomber offensive should be unambiguously stated as the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilized life throughout Germany, the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport, and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and to break down the morale both at home and at the battlefronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy.
  • They planned mostly daylight raids, and they rest their hopes on what they believe is the incredible technological capacity of their equipment, in particular the B17 flying fortress, which is studded with machine guns, which will supposedly keep away German fighter aircraft, and the Norden Bomb Sight, which is a piece of optical equipment that is used to calibrate and find the exact time, the exact angle at which to drop bombs, supposedly so accurate that it can put a 500-pound bomb from a mile in the sky into the inside of a pickle barrel.
  • So the US and Britain invest a tremendous amount, a tremendous amount of economic resources, a tremendous amount of industrial production, a tremendous amount of human life in the form of the air crew who die trying to carry out the strategic bombing effort.
  • They also decide to set aside the rules of war and instead to follow this theory that strategic bombing, either by destroying production or breaking the will of the enemy, will shorten the war.
  • Well, Galbraith and his staff come up with the conclusion that in fact the strategic bombing survey shows that all of these bombs, all of these efforts ultimately did very little to damage the German war effort, even from the perspective of looking at the productive capacity of their industry.
  • Not only was that the case, but at the same time, the US economy and the US military was committed to producing big ticket strategic bombing aircraft and soon, missiles, missile carrying submarines, and other kinds of technologies and devices that we consume a huge amount of resources that perhaps could have been used more effectively in the postwar world, to a large extent because the theory behind strategic bombing survived the test and what appears to be the failure of the theory in the actual real world.

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