Defense Plants
New cars were simply not available during the war. By February 1942, all car production had stopped and didn’t begin again until late 1945 after the end of the war. The government paid car manufacturers to make army trucks, airplanes, aircraft engines, radar units, machine guns, land mine detectors and other machinery needed for the armed forces. For example, Ford made jeeps that were used by the army. Rationing enabled scarce materials to be available for the armed forces and made an important contribution to our winning the war.

By the time the war ended, American factories had produced 299,000 airplanes, 102,000 tanks and self-propelled guns, 372,000 artillery pieces, 47 million tons of artillery ammunitions, 87,620 warships, and 44 billion rounds of small-arms ammunition. Time magazine called America’s wartime production a miracle.

This site was developed by Carole Parsons, a 5th grade teacher at Millbrook Elementary School. This lesson is part of a unit on WW II for the 5th grade Social Studies classes. Students are also working on performing a play based on the attack on Pearl Harbor, reading a WWII novel, and using extensive PowerPoint presentations to provide additional information to enhance the text.


Ruth Patrick Science Education Center

Aiken County Schools (February 2006)

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