Sunday, September 16, 2012
the last book I ever read (Rachel Maddow's Drift, excerpt two)
from Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow:
Mobilization for World War II was even larger, and the post-war drawdown nearly as dramatic. In 1945 there were twelve million people on active duty in the US Armed Forces; five years later, that number had dropped 88 percent, to just one and a half million. But that stunning demobilization had few concomitant dislocations. Call it the War-and-Peace Dividend or the World's Greatest Stimulus Package. A country that left a Great Depression at home to confront the Axis powers overseas converted the massive government spending of the war effort into an unprecedented civilian economic boom when that war was won. Factories that had been making jeeps and warplanes and submarine engines and ammunition were now turning out new Chevrolet Bel Airs, Allis-Chalmers tractors, Cessna 170 airplanes, and Frigidaire iceboxes. It didn't hurt our standing in the world economy that about one in five able-bodied young men in Germany and the Soviet Union had been killed in the war, and at least one in ten of Japan's. And it didn't hurt that the industrial cities of Japan and Germany (and much of Western Europe, for that matter) were smoking holes; of the 10.5 million cars manufactured worldwide in 1950, the United State made more than 8 million of them, and sold 'em all over the world.