FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: From the Archives: Dispatches: America at War

America at War: The Triumph of the Machine

US M4 Sherman, equipped with a 75 mm main gun, with infantry walking alongside.

THE Second World War was a war of mass, but not, like the First, of massed manpower; it was a war of massed machines. In view of this, American production and construction, which reached Wellsian proportions, can be said to have been directly responsible for the victory over Germany and Japan. Such a statement, though true in a strictly military sense, is of course only part of the story. This article, summarizing the record of American industrial production and analyzing the merits and defects of certain of the weapons which it turned out, purports to tell only that part. It deliberately leaves out of account the spiritual imponderables which determine how, and how successfully, material power is used. It does not discuss the political factors responsible for the fact that we fought the Axis nations with powerful allies and not alone, and it makes no attempt to describe the brave and great accomplishments of those allies. Instead, it concentrates on the physical aspects of our own war effort. They need to be stressed, for perhaps the chief military lesson of the ordeal through which we have just passed is that although size of armies is an important element in modern warfare, as the Russian campaigns showed, wars today are not won by "big battalions" but by big industries.

Our industrial potential was the greatest advantage which we possessed over our enemies in the Second World War. We possessed no such overwhelming advantage in training for combat, in will-to-fight, in leadership, in tactics and in the quality of our equipment; indeed, the enemy was often on a par with us, or superior to us, in these respects. But we could build an airfield or a pipeline in a fraction of the time the enemy needed; and we could turn out ten tanks to his one. Our armies were not the largest; but together the United States Army, Navy and Air Force undeniably formed the mightiest fighting force ever assembled in history. Our

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