War Manpower Commission

Since 1940 the Selective Service under Lewis Hershey had registered 43 million men 18-65, but the army sought only the 30 million under 45. The Service was administered by 6443 local draft boards, allowed 37,000 COs for noncombat duty including 12,000 sent to Public Service Camps, but 5000 Jehovah's Witnesses sent to jail. The Tydings Amendment in Nov. 1942 exempted all agricultural workers and essential occupations. Cadet training programs and Special Training Program and Navy V-12 exempted 140,000. Married men were exempt until 1944, then 1 million fathers drafted. On Dec. 5, 1942, Selective Service was placed under Paul McNutt, head of WMC, who issued in early 1943 "work or fight" order and ended deferments for fathers, but defied by Hershey and manpower authority remained divided. When labor unions went on strike, the WLB threatened to draft strikers. By the end of the war, Hershey drafted 7.5m into army, 2.8m into navy, total 16m men and women served in uniform.

from Look magazine

"Stars over Berlin and Tokyo will soon replace these factory lights reflected in the noses of planes at Douglas Aircraft's Long Beach plant. Women workers groom lines of transparent noses for deadly A-20 attack bombers." by Alfred Palmer, Oct. 1942, from Patch-NA

"Chippers" - Women war workers of Marinship Corp.
from NA

Women workers chart
from Newsweek 1943/09/06

Mary Purdue, parachute maker
from Look magazine

NWHM exhibit


WWII Timeline start | Links | Topics | Pictures | Maps | Mobilization | revised 4/1/07 by Steven Schoenherr