Japans economic planning and mobilization in wartime, 1930s-1940s : the competence of the state

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Japan--Armed Forces--Mobilization--Historyth century. Japan--Economic policy Japan--Military policy. Military planning--Japan--Historyth century. They retain, in other words, a faith in state competence. For this faith, they adduce no evidence. Sharing little skepticism about the government's ability, they continue to expect the best of governmental intervention. In this book, Yoshiro Miwa shows that the Japanese government did not conduct requisite planning for the war by any means. Several well-known members of FDR's team—like Harry Hopkins and press secretary Steve Early—did not join the Truman administration though Hopkins answered Truman's call to service on a few occasions.

Other Roosevelt staffers, like special counsel Sam Rosenman and budget director Harold Smith, continued to serve in their positions for a short time. Truman, of course, placed his own trusted confidantes in key staff positions. Old friend Charles Ross —a highly respected Washington reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch—came on as press secretary and Senate aide Matthew Connelly became the President's appointments secretary.

The two most involved staffers in the Truman administration, however, were Clark Clifford and John Steelman. Clifford, the more important of the two, advised the President on political and foreign policy issues, replacing Rosenman as special counsel to the President in January Steelman became "the assistant to the President" in December , a position from which he oversaw countless administrative tasks that were required in the White House. Truman, though, fearful of losing control over the policy process, acted largely as his own "chief of staff," meeting with aides, assigning tasks, and defining his administration's agenda.

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During the Truman years, the President's staff continued to grow in size. More importantly, Truman treated the CEA as a set of presidential advisers, rather than as an independent body, and made sure that it remained under his control. Truman took office just as World War II entered its final stages. With Japan's surrender in August , he now led a nation that, for the first time in nearly two decades, was not wracked by the traumas of economic depression or world war.

Japan's Economic Planning and Mobilization in Wartime, s–s - Yoshiro Miwa - Google книги

Truman's chief task, then, was to lay out to Americans his vision for the country's future. Two related issues—the future of New Deal liberalism and the reconversion of the American economy from a war-time to a peace-time footing—topped his agenda. As conceived and implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers, New Deal liberalism committed the federal government to managing the nation's economy and to guarding the welfare of needy Americans.

Truman would have to decide whether to maintain, advance, or retreat from these basic premises.

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During the war, for instance, the Roosevelt administration had geared the economy to meet the nation's war needs, implementing price and wage controls, rationing and allocating resources, and setting production targets for American industry. In short, the federal government regulated the American economy to an unprecedented degree. With the war's end, Truman needed to reorient the nation's financial system towards consumer production and clarify the government's future role in the economy. In September , Truman presented to Congress a lengthy and rambling twenty-one point message that nonetheless attempted to set the post-war political and economic agenda.

Truman called for new public works programs, legislation guaranteeing "full employment," a higher minimum wage, extension of the Fair Employment Practices Committee or FEPC, a war-time agency that monitored discrimination against African Americans in hiring practices of government agencies and defense industries , a larger Social Security System, and a national health insurance system. Taken together, these requests demonstrated an interest in maintaining and building upon the New Deal. On reconversion, Truman pushed for quick demobilization of the military—a political necessity as the troops and their families clamored for a hasty return to civilian life—and the temporary extension of governmental economic controls.

Truman's program went nowhere. While he won passage of a "full employment" bill—the Employment Act of —the measure had no teeth. Republicans and conservative southern Democrats in Congress were dead-set against many of the other proposed reforms, including an extension of FEPC, national health insurance, and a higher minimum wage. The public, moreover, divided over the prospects of an enlarged social welfare state and continued government intervention in the economy; liberal Democrats and key constituents of the Democratic Party supported them, but many other Americans did not.

Reconversion stuttered and stalled—and Truman received the blame. In truth, rapid reconversion would have been difficult for any President, due to the variety and challenge of its objectives: increased production of consumer goods, full employment, higher wages, lower prices, and peace between labor unions and industrial management. Ironically, a key Democratic constituency—labor—gave Truman the most headaches.

In August , Truman announced that he would maintain price controls but that unions could pursue higher wages. Beginning in late and lasting throughout , a wave of strikes hit the steel, coal, auto, and railroad industries, debilitating key sectors of the American economy and stifling production of certain consumer goods.

Truman remained steadfast in the face of labor's demands. To end the strikes and restore industrial peace, he recommended compulsory mediation and arbitration, warned that the U. The unions backed down and returned to work, for the most part with healthy gains. But by taking such a hard line, Truman had damaged his relationship with an important element of the party coalition.

Truman's other chief economic problem was the time it took to convert from military to civilian production. Consumer goods in high demand were slow to appear on the nation's shelves and in its showrooms, frustrating Americans who desperately wanted to purchase items they had forsaken during the war. Price controls proved a particularly thorny problem. When Congress preserved the Office of Price Administration but stripped it of all its power, Truman delivered a stinging veto. As controls began to disappear in mid, prices shot upward; the rise in the price of meat—which doubled over a two-week period in the summer—received the most attention.

In response, the government reinstituted price controls, angering meat producers who then withheld meat from the market. One woman wrote Truman specifically with the meat problem in mind, asking him, "How about some meat? Many Americans, including the President's supposed Democratic allies, wondered if Truman could effectively lead the nation. In the congressional mid-term elections of , Republicans highlighted the problems of reconversion with slogans like "Had Enough" and "To Err is Truman," winning control of both the House and Senate.


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The future of Truman's presidency looked bleak as the presidential election loomed on the horizon. Ironically, Truman's legislative predicament actually sparked his political comeback. With Congress in the hands of Republicans—rather than members of his own party who were lukewarm at best to his proposals—Truman could let GOP leaders try to master the challenging task of governance.

Truman also could define himself in opposition to Republican initiatives and wage a rhetorical war against the Republican Party. Truman employed this strategy in several ways. In his January State of the Union address, he identified the need for legislation to solve the persistent problems of labor unrest and strikes.

He offered no solution of his own, however, proposing only a temporary commission to study the issue and a declaration that he would sign no bill attacking organized labor. Republicans in Congress took up Truman's challenge and passed the Taft-Hartley bill, which limited the power of labor unions by curbing union participation in politics, by approving state "right to work" laws, and by allowing the President to block strikes through a judicially mandated eighty day "cooling-off" period. Truman vetoed Taft-Hartley in June , declaring that it "would take fundamental rights away from our working people.

Nevertheless, in opposing Taft-Hartley, Truman recaptured the support of organized labor. Inflation continued to be a problem in and as well, although prices did not rise as steeply as they had in Food prices, in particular, continued to soar. Truman suggested a return to price controls, albeit with the knowledge that congressional Republicans would reject such a measure—which they did.

Republicans passed legislation mandating economic controls and rationing, which Truman signed, though he declared these bills "pitifully inadequate. Finally, in , Truman reaffirmed his support for liberal initiatives like housing for the poor and federal assistance for education. He vetoed Republican tax bills perceived as favoring the rich and rejected a Republican effort to raise tariffs on imported wool, a measure he deemed isolationist. These positions, combined with his veto of Taft-Hartley and his sympathy toward price controls, situated Truman as the chief defender of the New Deal against Republican encroachments.

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Truman also took a stand in on civil rights. His unsuccessful proposal to extend FEPC was, in part, an effort to court black voters so important to the Democratic Party. Speaking to a crowd of 10,, Truman declared that "The only limit to an American's achievement should be his ability, his industry, and his character. Truman proceeded cautiously on this front, however.

In early , he sent his civil rights proposals to Congress, but did little to urge their passage. He also announced that he would issue executive orders—in the future—to desegregate the armed forces and to prohibit discrimination in the civil service. By early , therefore, his support for civil rights was more rhetorical than substantive. Nonetheless, as he pursued this strategy with increasing skill throughout the year, Truman stood poised to win Democratic votes. In his State of the Union address, Truman again called for civil rights legislation, national health insurance, a housing program, and a higher minimum wage.

On a cross-country train tour in early —dubbed a "whistle stop" tour by Republican Senator Robert Taft—Truman employed a new extemporaneous speaking style. Audiences warmed to this new public persona: the plain-spoken, hard-fighting Harry Truman from Missouri. Still, most political observers—and many Democrats—thought Truman would not win re-election in After a rousing Democratic National Convention in which he claimed the nomination of a divided party—southerners had bolted in favor of segregationist "Dixiecrat" Senator Strom Thurmond SC and some progressives had supported Truman's former commerce secretary Henry Wallace - the President turned his attention to the Presidential campaign.

He continued to run against the Republican Congress, even calling it into a special session to enact legislation. Truman also embraced more fully the cause of black civil rights by issuing executive orders desegregating the military and outlawing discrimination in the civil service. For more details, see Campaigns and Elections. Buoyed by his stunning victory, Truman announced an ambitious agenda in early , which he called the "Fair Deal. Conservatives in the Republican and Democratic parties had little use for Truman's Fair Deal, however.

National health insurance and repeal of Taft-Hartley went nowhere in Congress. Southern Democrats filibustered any attempt to push forward civil rights legislation. And Truman's agricultural program, the "Brannan Plan," designed to aid the family farmer by providing income support, floundered; it was replaced by a program that continued price supports. Congress did approve parts of the Fair Deal, however; Truman won passage of a moderately effective public housing and slum-clearance bill in , an increase in the minimum wage that same year, and a significant expansion of Social Security in Clearly, Truman had miscalculated in reading his electoral victory as a mandate to enact a liberal political, social, and economic agenda.

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Just as important, Truman regarded the "Fair Deal" as an opportunity to refashion the Democratic party into an alliance of urban dwellers, small farmers, labor, and African-Americans. Absent from this proposed coalition were white conservative southern Democrats. Moreover, public opinion polls showed that most Americans wanted Truman to protect the New Deal, not enlarge it.

Likewise, Truman underestimated congressional opposition to a larger social welfare state—opposition strengthened by the public's lack of support for the Truman agenda. Whatever enthusiasm remained for the Fair Deal was lost, after the summer of , amidst preoccupations with the Korean War. As Truman fought for the Fair Deal in , he also battled a fairly severe economic slowdown. Both unemployment and inflation rose during the first six months of that year, heightening fears that the nation's post-war economic boom was over.

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Truman's economic policy sought to balance the federal budget through a combination of high taxes and limited spending; any budget surplus would be applied to the national debt. As the economy stalled, Truman in mid abandoned his hope for a balanced budget and gave some tax breaks to businesses. The economy responded by perking up in Truman's actions signaled that his primary concern was the maintenance of healthy economic growth, viewing ever-larger budget deficits as temporary expedients.

It was a policy that succeeding administrations would follow repeatedly. The Korean War, which began in June , also affected the American economy. Truman and his advisers believed that American involvement in the war required economic mobilization at home. With the World War II experience in their minds—and uncertain whether the Korean War was merely the opening round of a longer and larger conflict - U. In December , Truman won congressional passage of the Defense Production Act and issued an executive order creating the Office of Defense Mobilization. Somewhat surprisingly, mobilization proceeded with few hitches: unemployment stayed low; inflation remained in check, albeit for a sharp, one-time surge in the last half of ; the hording of consumer goods subsided quickly; and military production increased.

Nevertheless, many Americans complained about the government's intervention in the economy, especially its controls on credit. Economic mobilization for the war effort did serve, though, as the setting for one of Truman's most stunning rebukes. By the end of , the nation's steel industry faced a possible shut-down as labor and management could not agree on a new contract.

Government mediation during the first several months of failed to end the stalemate. Throughout the ordeal, Truman's objectives were to avert a strike, maintain steel production, and stay on good terms with labor, an important Democratic constituency. In April, with no agreement in sight, Truman used his presidential authority to seize the steel industry; for the time being, it would be administered and overseen by the federal government.

The seized steel companies took Truman to court to overturn his action. In June , the Supreme Court declared the seizure unconstitutional by a vote.

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