Friday, September 12, 2014

How the New Deal Helped Win World War II (part 8 of 10): The Recyclers

(WPA poster, made in California between 1941 and 1943, urging the public to get involved in salvaging activities. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

Between April, 1942, and March, 1943, WPA workers collected "376,000 tons of scrap metal and 10,000 tons of rubber." WPA workers also constructed and improved facilities to process scrap materials. The laborers who engaged in this salvage work were often too old (according to the norms of the time) to engage in more strenuous defense work and military service.

The WPA also located and surveyed automobile junk yards across the nation, so that scrap metal and rubber could be more efficiently moved to areas where the U.S. War Production Board saw the need.

(Federal Works Agency, Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-43, pp. 86-87, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946.)

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