Small Business and the War

March 4, 1942

Report Outline
Plight of Small Business in the Emergency
Small Business in the American Economy
Procurement Policies and Small Business
Proposed Measures to Aid Small Business
Special Focus

Plight of Small Business in the Emergency

Months before Pearl Harbor, spokesmen for small business began to direct attention to the plight of manufacturing concerns which were experiencing difficulty in obtaining materials essential to carrying on their normal operations, and which at the same time were unable to obtain contracts enabling them to participate in the national defense program. Entrance of the United States into the war, and adoption of plans for greatly increased production of war materials, offered hope that means might be found for utilizing the facilities of small plants capable of conversion to war production.

At the same time, the new situation intensified the problems of small plants not capable of such conversion but dependent on materials needed for war purposes. In addition, prospective shutdowns of such plants, with resulting unemployment and migration of workers, threatened the business of commercial and service enterprises, particularly in small communities. And certain enterprises of the latter sort, wherever located, such as filling stations and automobile dealers' establishments, faced drastic loss of business as a result of sharp curtailment of the normal output of civilian supplies.

Small Business and Fears of Totalitarian Economy

Despite extensive consideration by congressional committees, executive departments and agencies, and administrators of the defense and war efforts, little effective progress toward solution of the problems of small business in the present emergency appears to have been made. Meanwhile, fears have been voiced that if small businesses by the thousands are allowed to succumb, as victims of material shortages, priorities, and other war factors, it will be impossible to revive them when peace returns.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Small Business
Jun. 19, 1987  Small Business
Jan. 28, 1983  Small Business: Trouble on Main Street
Oct. 23, 1957  Aid to Small Business
Aug. 24, 1955  Future of Small Business
Mar. 02, 1950  Financial Aid for Small Business
Mar. 21, 1945  Revival of Small Business
Mar. 04, 1942  Small Business and the War
Jul. 01, 1939  Government Loans to Small Business
Apr. 03, 1934  Small Business Under the N.R.A.
Small Business
U.S. at War: World War II
War and Conflict
World War II