Saturday, September 13, 2014

How the New Deal Helped Win World War II (part 9 of 10): WPA Mapmakers, Meteorologists, and Camouflage Artists

(In this photo, men in the WPA are working on an atlas for Baltimore City. Similar types of mapmaking work would prove useful to the war effort. Photo courtesy of the University of Maryland College Park Archives.)

An interesting bit of World War II history, from the Final Report on the WPA Program, 1935-43 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946, p. 87):

"During the fiscal year 1943, WPA art project work was confined to the making of posters, maps, models, and other visual aids for the use of the military forces and defense councils. WPA workers on art projects had previously performed a variety of services for the Army and the Navy and other war agencies. For use in training members of the armed forces, they made working models of bridges, airports, guns, bombs, and tanks; various kinds of maps; and diagrammatic charts of airplane motors...The talents of these workers were used in experiments in camouflage...Other WPA workers collected essential weather statistics and tabulated vast numbers of observations for use in making climatic and weather information available to the armed forces."

Once again, we see how government care of, and investment in, the less fortunate--in this case, the unemployed who were hired into various WPA-funded programs--had positive results.

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