Production of War Materials

May 27, 1941

Report Outline
Progress of Defense Production to Date
America's Industrial Capacity to Produce
Expansion of Production Since August, 1939
Armament Production and Civilian Supplies
Special Focus

Progress of Defense Production to Date

One year after appointment of the National Defense Advisory Commission, mass production of war materials in the United States is just beginning to get under way on a scale which promises eventually to surpass the military production of the European belligerents. The office for Emergency Management reported on May 25 that authorized and proposed expenditures for defense had reached $39,177,800,000 in mid-March, in addition to which Great Britain had placed orders in this country amounting to $3,511,000,000. Plans are now being made to raise the total to at least $50,000,000,000, and to spend most of this money by the end of 1942.

Actual disbursements, which provide the best available measure of progress in the defense effort, are not yet being made at a rate which would come close to the $50,000,000,000 goal. On May 21, the Treasury reported total expenditures for the Army, Navy and other defense agencies of about $5,000,000,000 since the beginning of 1941. This was only about $3,640,000,000 more than regular Army and Navy expenditures in the same period of 1940, before the emergency program was started. It has been estimated that German military expenditures are now at least $2,000,000,000 a month, and British war expenditures are about $1,000,000,000 a month, which means that the United States production is still less than that of either of the chief belligerents. However, American defense spending is expected to reach $1,000,000,000 a month by July, and to continue to increase as new plants now being built get into operation. The current schedule of the Office of Production Management calls for total industrial defense expenditures of about $13,500,000,000 by the end of this year, and of about $19,000,000,000 in 1942. An additional $8,000,000,000 will be spent for non-industrial items. The present schedule will soon be revised upward.

Hillman's Plea for Increased Defense Production

Sidney Hillman, associate director general of the Office of Production Management said, May 21, that the $42,000,000,000 program which has already been accepted for United States defense and aid to England is only a beginning:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
U.S. Preparation for World War II
Aug. 22, 1947  Industrial Mobilization
Sep. 23, 1941  War Organization of the Government
Aug. 02, 1941  Daylight Saving
Jul. 24, 1941  Conservation of Strategic Materials
Jun. 27, 1941  Atlantic Islands and American Defense
May 27, 1941  Production of War Materials
May 21, 1941  Rearmament and Work Relief
Mar. 15, 1941  War Aims
Feb. 20, 1941  War Orders and Decentralization
Feb. 05, 1941  Regulation of Priorities
Jun. 03, 1940  Methods of Financing War
Dec. 27, 1938  American Rearmament
Feb. 20, 1937  War Profits and Industrial Mobilization
Defense Industry
U.S. at War: World War II