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|ALL THINGS PITTSBURGH
|The Commonwealth also mobilized its resources and citizens for the war effort. In 1943, Harold James was succeeded as
the governor of Pennsylvania by General Edward Martin, the former commander of the 28th Division. "Right now
nothing matters but winning the war," Martin said in his inaugural speech, "because if we do not win it, nothing else
will matter." To win the war, the legislature gave Martin the power to suspend or modify any law that impeded the war
effort, subject to review by a six-man legislative panel.
The war touched every facet of society. More than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians served in the state's volunteer army of
civil-defense workers, acting as airplane spotters, caring for equipment, administering the state rationing system, and
performing other vital services. At the peak in December 1943, more than 2.5 million Pennsylvanians worked in
|Fifth War Loan Drive. A Beauty Queen and Man Ride in a Truck to Promote the Bond Program.
|The beefed up American military was a pervading presence across the state. Soldiers could be seen everywhere. Millions
of soldiers crossed the state on Pennsylvania's railroads, and received food and a warm welcome at the Connellsville
Canteen and other community-sponsored canteens. Pennsylvania was home to more than forty military bases, ranging
from the venerable Philadelphia Navy Yard and Carlisle Barracks to hastily-constructed sites such as Camp Reynolds.
Eight colleges joined the Navy's V-12 officer training program while others set up programs for the Army. Existing bases
were enlarged to handle the influx of soldiers and supplies. Even the Pennsylvania Turnpike was pressed into service, as
a vital military artery.
|The city's industrial output was staggering. Existing factories retooled to make a variety of weapons, vehicles, aircraft,
and parts. The state's contribution to the war effort ranged from battleships and tanks to torpedoes, bombs, and rations.
The American Bantam Car Co. in Butler PA designed and produced the first jeeps.
Led by steel, industries in Pittsburgh produced a broad range of material for the war effort. The Dravo Corporation built
the new class of attack landing craft that made possible the successful Allied invasions in Italy, Normandy, and all the
major island campaigns in the Pacific. The Pittsburgh Grease Plant manufactured the waterproof grease vital for
successful amphibious operations in France and the Pacific. Aircraft motors, rayon for parachutes, armor plate for
warships, reconnaissance aircraft, compasses, radio crystals-Pennsylvania industry supplied it all.
To help house the influx of workers looking to find jobs in the defense industries, the federal government helped finance
and build new housing projects in major cities. Mooncrest, Allegheny County, still survives as a Pittsburgh suburb.
Women also left their homes in large numbers to work in factories alongside men. By 1945, more than one-third of the
entire work force was composed of women. Rosie the Riveter became a national icon, while WASP pilot Helen Richey
and other women garnered headlines by serving in all branches of the armed forces.
World War II was fought and won in laboratories as well as in factories and on battlefields.
|Captured German War Machines in Pittsburgh
|Rosie the Riveter's Sister?
Welder, Helen (Cookie) Cook McLuskey Stands Beside Her Welding Project.
|Coal Barge on the River - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
|Workers Gather to Reflect and Celebrate on V-E Day.
|Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation
Homestead District Works
|Workers at the H.J. Heinz Company Main Plant in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood work on a
secret, emergency project during World War II to produce wings for gliders. Large and clumsy by
modern standards, the gliders could carry over thirty troops or equipment as large as a Jeep. In
addition to this secret project, H.J. Heinz produced K and C Rations for the armed services, as well
as shell canisters, pontoons, airplane seats, and other items. Altogether, 2800 men and women
received vocational training for war production work from one hundred teachers in twelve Pittsburgh
|With more than 900,000 Pennsylvania men and some 22,000 women serving in the armed forces, the Commonwealth
had a desperate need for workers. More than a million women entered the work force during the war, performing jobs
previously reserved for men only. Taking part in a great national wartime migration, southern blacks poured into
Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chester, and other cities to work in the factories and shipyards.
The American entertainment industry also mobilized to support the war effort. Many of the country's biggest stars went
into the military, including Pennsylvania's own Jimmy Stewart, who piloted B-17s in the air war over Germany. Other
stars, including bandleader Les Brown used their talents to entertain the troops. Decimated by the loss of players who
were drafted or volunteered for service, Baseball managers sought out the best talent they could find, including
one-armed outfielder Pete Wyshner, from Nanticoke, PA.
|Workers at the H.J. Heinz Company Main Plant in Pittsburgh’s North Side neighborhood prepare a
completed glider wing for shipment to a final assembly location during World War II. The Heinz plant,
normally a food-processing center, was the location of a secret project to build glider wings as part of
the war effort. These gliders played a major role in Allied invasions and other military operations
during the war. The wing was made of plywood and painted aluminum to resemble metal. Here, J.H.
Rich, army air force inspector, left, authorizes Harry Anderson, Heinz inspector, to place an
acceptance tag on the finished section of the wing.