The War Industries Board (WIB) was a
The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
government agency established on July 28, 1917, during
World War I
World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war
A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...
, to coordinate the purchase of war supplies between the War Department
(Department of the Army) and the Navy Department. Because the
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense (DoD, USDOD or DOD) is an executive branch department of the federal government
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A polity is an identifiable political entityâ ...
The Pentagon is the headquarters
Headquarters (commonly referred to as HQ) denotes the location where most, if not all, of the important functions of an organization are coordinated. In the United States
The United States of America ...
) 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
An appropriation bill, also known as supply bill or spending bill, is a proposed law that authorizes the expenditure of government funds. It is a bill that sets money aside for specific spending. In most democracies, approval of the legislature ...
of August 1916). The ''War Industries Board'' was preceded by the General Munitions Board â€”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,EncyclopÃ¦dia Britannica CD 2000 "Civil-law public ca ...
Daniel Willard (January 28, 1861 â€“ 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, 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
In the United States, an executive order is a directive
Directive may refer to:
* Directive (European Union), a legislative act of the European Union
* Directive (programming), a computer language construct that specifies how a compiler shou ...
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
The Nye Committee, officially known as the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, was a United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress
The United States Con ...
led by U.S. Senator
Gerald Prentice Nye (December 19, 1892 â€“ July 17, 1971) was an American politician who represented North Dakota
North Dakota () is a U.S. state
In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each ...
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 â€”like the
National Recovery Administration
The National Recovery Administration (NRA) was a prime agency established by U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt
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â€” were influential during the
The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations
Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory
Systems theory is the interdisciplina ...
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 ...
, head of the Cupples Co., a distribution firm
* Robert S. Lovett
, President of
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , legally Union Pacific Railroad Company and simply Union Pacific, is a freight-hauling railroad that operates 8,300 locomotives over routes in 23 U.S. state
In the , a state is a , of which there are curre ...
*Hugh Frayne, of the
American Federation of Labor
The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was a national federation of labor unions in the United States
Labor unions in the United States are organizations that represent workers in many industries recognized under US labor law since the 1935 en ...
and former president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO
*Army Brigadier General Palmer E. Pierce
*Admiral Frank F. Fletcher
Other later members included:
Alexander Legge (January 13, 1866 â€“ 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 ...
, selected by President
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 ...
as vice chairman after the reorganization in March 1918
Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett
Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett (March 27, 1874 â€“ February 4, 1957)Interment Control Forms, 1928â€“1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774â€“1985, Record Group 92. The National Ar ...
* Samuel P. Bush
, Chief of Ordinance (small arms, ammunition)
* Charles H. Conner, Private Investor, New York, NY
Clarence Dillon (September 27, 1882 â€“ 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 ...
George Washington Goethals
George Washington Goethals ( June 29, 1858 â€“ January 21, 1928) was a United States Army
The United States Army (USA) is the land
Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land ...
(became a member in 1918)
* 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
, 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.
* 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 linksRecords of the WIB at the National Archives
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