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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
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 industries.
|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.
|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 schools.
|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
|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.
|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.