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This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches on the bombardier nose section of a B-17F navy bomber, Long Beach, Calif. She's one of many capable women workers in the Douglas Aircraft Company plant. Better known as the "Flying Fortress," the B-17F is a later model of the B-17 which distinguished itself in action in the South Pacific, over Germany and elsewhere. It is a long range, high altitude heavy bomber, with a crew of seven to nine men, and with armament sufficient to defend itself on daylight missions

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This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches on the bombardier nose section of a B-17F navy bomber, Long Beach, Calif. She's one of many capable women workers in the Douglas Aircraft Company plant. Better known as the "Flying Fortress," the B-17F is a later model of the B-17 which distinguished itself in action in the South Pacific, over Germany and elsewhere. It is a long range, high altitude heavy bomber, with a crew of seven to nine men, and with armament sufficient to defend itself on daylight missions

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Picryl description: Public domain historical photo of Second World War, free to use, no copyright restrictions image.

WWII color photographs. Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs from the Library of Congress. The original images are color transparencies ranging in size from 35 mm. to 4x5 inches. Photographers working for the U.S. government's Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI) between 1939 and 1944 made approximately 1,600 color photographs that depict life in the United States, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The pictures focus on rural areas and farm labor, as well as aspects of World War II mobilization, including factories, railroads, aviation training, and women working.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps. Although Boeing lost the contract because the prototype crashed, the air corps was so impressed with Boeing's design that it ordered 13 more B-17s for further evaluation. The B-17 was primarily employed by the United States Army Air Forces in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against Germany. The B-17 also participated to a lesser extent in the War in the Pacific, early in World War II, where it conducted raids against Japan.

At the end of the 1920s, the United States boasted the largest economy in the world. With the destruction wrought by World War I, Europeans struggled while Americans flourished. Upon succeeding to the Presidency, Herbert Hoover predicted that the United States would soon see the day when poverty was eliminated. Then, in a moment of triumph, the stock market crash of 1929 touched off a chain of events that plunged the United States into the longest, deepest economic crisis of its history. The Great Depression (1929-39) was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the USA and the western industrialized world. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed. The depression is best understood as the final chapter of the breakdown of the worldwide economic order. As the depression deepened, governments tried to protect their reserves of gold by keeping interest rates high and credit tight for too long. This had a devastating impact on credit, spending, and prices, and an ordinary business slump became a calamity. What ultimately ended the depression was World War II. Military spending and mobilization reduced the U.S. unemployment rate to 1.9 percent by 1943. It is too simplistic to view the stock market crash as the single cause of the Great Depression: - The gold standard. Most money was paper, but governments were obligated, if requested, to redeem that paper for gold. This "convertibility" put an upper limit on the volume of paper currency governments could print. A loss of gold (or convertible currencies) forced governments to raise interest rates. - The best-known economists Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz, blame the Federal Reserve for permitting two-fifths of the nation's banks to fail between 1929 and 1933. Since deposits were not insured then, the bank failures wiped out savings and shrank the money supply. From 1929 to 1933 the money supply dropped by one-third, choking off credit and making it impossible for many individuals and businesses to spend or invest. - Economist Charles Kindleberger sees depression as a global event caused by a lack of world economic leadership. According to Kindleberger, Britain provided leadership before World War I. It fostered global trade by keeping its markets open, promoted expansion by making overseas investments, and prevented financial crises with emergency loans. Between WWI and WWII wars no country did enough to halt banking crises, and the entire industrial world adopted protectionist measures in attempts to curtail imports. In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff, raising tariffs on dutiable items by 52 percent. The protectionism put an extra brake on world trade just when countries should have been promoting it.

World War II was a period of rapid technological advancement in the field of aircraft, and these advancements have continued to shape the development of aircraft in the years since. There were significant advances in aircraft design, such as the use of swept wings and the development of more advanced aircraft materials, such as aluminum alloys and plastic composites. These advances allowed for the construction of stronger, lighter aircraft that was capable of higher speeds and greater maneuverability. Biplanes, which have two main wings stacked one above the other, were largely obsolete by the time World War II began in 1939. They had been largely replaced by monoplanes, which have a single main wing, by the start of World War II. The main advantage of monoplanes is that they are typically faster and more maneuverable than biplanes due to their streamlined design. In addition, monoplanes are able to carry a greater load for their size, making them more suitable for use as bombers and transport aircraft. However, biplanes were not completely abandoned during World War II. Some biplane designs, such as the British Hawker Hurricane and the Soviet Polikarpov I-153, saw limited use as fighters. In addition, biplanes were used in a number of other roles, including training, observation, and light transports. One of the major developments in aircraft technology during World War II was the use of jet engines, which allowed for faster and more powerful aircraft. The first jet aircraft, the German Heinkel He 178, made its first flight in 1939. However, it was not until after the war that jet aircraft became widespread. During World War II, a number of aircraft were produced in large quantities to meet the demands of the war. Here are some examples of some of the most massively produced aircraft of World War II: The Soviet Union's Ilyushin Il-2 was a ground attack aircraft that was produced in tremendous numbers, with more than 36,000 being built. It was heavily armed and armored, making it a formidable opponent on the battlefield. The German Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a mainstay of the German air force and was produced in large numbers, with more than 35,000 being built. It was used as a fighter, interceptor, and ground attack aircraft, and saw action on many fronts during the war. The American Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was a heavily armed and armored fighter that was produced in large quantities, with more than 15,000 being built. It was used extensively in Europe and the Pacific and was known for its durability and long range. The British Supermarine Spitfire was a highly regarded fighter that was produced in large numbers, with more than 20,000 being built. It saw action in many theaters of the war and was known for its agility and handling.

date_range

Date

01/01/1939
person

Contributors

Palmer, Alfred T., photographer
place

Location

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Source

Library of Congress
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No known restrictions on publication.

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