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The War Industries Board (WIB) was a
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United States
government agency established on July 28, 1917, during
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World War I
, to coordinate the purchase of war supplies between the War Department (Department of the Army) and the Navy Department. Because the
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(
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) would only come into existence in 1947, this was an ad hoc construction to promote cooperation between the Army and the Navy (with regard to procurement), it was founded by the
Council of National Defense The Council of National Defense was a United States organization formed during World War I to coordinate resources and industry in support of the war effort, including the coordination of transportation, industrial and farm production, financial s ...
(which on its turn came into existence by the
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of August 1916). The ''War Industries Board'' was preceded by the General Munitions Board —which didn't have the authority it needed and was later strengthened and transformed into the WIB. The board was led initially by Frank A. Scott, who had previously been head of the General Munitions Board. He was replaced in November by
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first common carrier A common carrier in common law countries (corresponding to a public carrier in some civil law (legal system), civil law systems,Encyclopædia Britannica CD 2000 "Civil-law public ca ...
president
Daniel Willard Daniel Willard (January 28, 1861 – July 6, 1942) was an American railroad executive best known as the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) from 1910 to 1941. He served on or headed several government railroad commissions in World ...
. Finally, in January 1918, the board was reorganized under the leadership of financier Bernard M. Baruch. The organization encouraged companies to use
mass-production Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of substantial amounts of standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A techni ...
techniques to increase efficiency and urged them to eliminate waste by standardizing products. The board set production quotas and allocated raw materials. It also conducted psychological testing to help people find the right jobs. The WIB dealt with labor-management disputes resulting from increased demand for products during World War I. The government could not negotiate prices and could not handle worker strikes, so the War Industries Board regulated the two to decrease tensions by stopping strikes with wage increases to prevent a shortage of supplies going to the war in Europe. Under the War Industries Board, industrial production in the U.S. increased 20 percent. The vast majority of the war material, however, was produced too late to do any good. The War Industries Board was decommissioned by an
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on January 1, 1919. With the war mobilization conducted under the supervision of the War Industries Board, unprecedented fortunes fell upon war producers and certain holders of raw materials and patents. Hearings in 1934 by the
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led by U.S. Senator
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Gerald Nye
were intended to hold war profiteers to account. Despite its relatively brief existence, the WIB was a major step in the development of national planning and government-business cooperation in the United States, and its precedents —like the
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— were influential during the
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and World War II.


Members of the War Industries Board

The original seven members of the War Industries Board were: *Frank A. Scott, chairman * Bernard M. Baruch *
Robert S. Brookings Robert Somers Brookings (January 22, 1850November 15, 1932) was an American businessman and philanthropist, known for his involvement with Washington University in St. Louis Washington University in St. Louis (WashU, or WUSTL) is a private re ...

Robert S. Brookings
, head of the Cupples Co., a distribution firm * Robert S. Lovett, President of
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*Hugh Frayne, of the
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and former president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO *Army Brigadier General Palmer E. Pierce *Admiral Frank F. Fletcher Other later members included: *
Alexander Legge Alexander Legge (January 13, 1866 – December 3, 1933) was a prominent American business executive, serving as president of International Harvester from 1922 to 1933. He performed public service during World War I on the War Industries Board and a ...

Alexander Legge
, selected by President
Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856February 3, 1924) was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of gove ...

Woodrow Wilson
as vice chairman after the reorganization in March 1918 *
Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett (March 27, 1874 – February 4, 1957)Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Ar ...

Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett
* Samuel P. Bush, Chief of Ordinance (small arms, ammunition) * Charles H. Conner, Private Investor, New York, NY *
Clarence Dillon Clarence Dillon (September 27, 1882 – April 14, 1979) was an American financier, and namesake of Dillon, Read & Co., an investment bank. In 1957, Fortune Magazine listed Dillon as one of the richest men in the United States, with a fortune then ...
, partner in
Dillon, Read & Co. Dillon, Read & Co. was an investment bank based in New York City. In 1991, it was acquired by Barings Bank and, in 1997, it was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation, which was in turn acquired by UBS in 1998. History Carpenter & Vermilye Dillon Read ...
*Army General
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George Washington Goethals
(became a member in 1918) *
Hugh S. Johnson
Hugh S. Johnson
* Eugene Meyer, Special Advisor to the War Industries Board on Non-Ferrous Metals *John Millard, Private Investor, Tokyo, Missouri * Edward Stettinius Sr., partner in J.P. Morgan & Co. *Walter D. Stewart *
George Cameron Stone George Cameron Stone (August 6, 1859 in Geneva, New York – November 18, 1935 in New York City, New York) was a well-known American arms collecting, collector and author as well as an United States, American mining engineer and metallurgy, meta ...
, head of Non-Ferrous Metal section *Major
Seth Williams
Seth Williams
, Marine Corps Representative to the Board (Requirements Division); Future Quartermaster of the Marine Corps in 1937-1944.Baruch, B. (1941)
American Industry in the War: A Report of the War Industries Board
New York: Prentice-Hall, p.292.


References


Further reading

* Clarkson, Grosvenor. ''Industrial America in the World War'', (1923, ) * Cuff, Robert D. ''The War Industries Board: Business-Government Relations During World War I'', Johns Hopkins University Press, (1973, ) * Gilbert, James B. ''Designing the Industrial State'', (1972, )


External links


Records of the WIB at the National Archives
{{Authority control 20th-century military history of the United States United States home front during World War I World War I Defunct agencies of the United States government