Manpower is a 1943 government film that shows how industries and factories responded during World War II, through the War Manpower Commission, to locate and solve worker shortages. In Baltimore a WMC approved experiment begins, with job switching discouraged by the unions, and new men located to take jobs who might not have ordinarily filled these jobs — storekeepers, small businessmen, etc. The film includes a look at the hiring of women and African Americans — here referred to as Negroes — to meet the labor shortage and promotes various initiatives to meet the desperate need for labor during the war, with how women entered the workforce for the first time in unprecedented numbers. Only 10 million of 50 million American women were working at the start of the war. By the end of the war many of these women were working in factories including airplane assembly lines. At 5:54 women welders and “Rosie the Riveter” (6:25) types are seen.

The War Manpower Commission was a World War II agency of the United States Government charged with planning to balance the labor needs of agriculture, industry and the armed forces.

The Commission was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Executive Order 9139 of April 18, 1942. Its chairman was Paul V. McNutt, head of the Federal Security Agency. In this Executive Order, the War Manpower Commission was headed by the Federal Security Administrator as Chairman, and consisted of representatives from the Department of War, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Labor, the War Production Board, the Labor Production Division of the War Production Board, the Selective Service System, and the United States Civil Service Commission to ensure effective mobilization of manpower in the post-war era.

Executive Order 9279, dated December 5, 1942, transferred the Selective Service System to the War Manpower Commission. However, a year later it was made a separate agency directly responsible to the President.

McNutt appointed all men to his labor advisory committee, despite the pleas of Women’s Bureau director, Mary Anderson, to have women represented. Instead, he created a Women’s Advisory Committee appointing thirteen prominent women professionals, business executives, journalists, educators and organizational presidents. However, he did not provide a budget and its members were not paid.

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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com

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