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War Industries Board

War Industries Board

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The War Industries Board (WIB) was a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 government agency established on July 28, 1917, during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, to coordinate the purchase of war supplies. The organization encouraged companies to use mass-production techniques to increase efficiency and urged them to eliminate waste by standardizing products. The board set production quotas and allocated raw materials. It also conducted psychological testing to help people find the right jobs.

The board was led initially by Frank A. Scott, who had previously been head of the General Munitions Board. He was replaced in November by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad president Daniel Willard
Daniel Willard
Daniel Willard was a railroad executive best known as the president of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from 1910 to 1941. He served on or headed several government railroad commissions in World War I and appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1932 due to his part in negotiating wage cuts in the...

. Finally in January 1918, the board was reorganized under the leadership of Bernard M. Baruch.

The WIB dealt with labor-management disputes resulting from increased demand for products during World War I. The government could not negotiate prices and could not handle worker strikes, so the War Industries Board regulated the two to decrease tensions by stopping strikes with wage increases to prevent a shortage of supplies going to the war in Europe.

Under the War Industries Board, industrial production in the U.S. increased 20%. The War Industries Board was decommissioned by an executive order on January 1, 1919.

With the war mobilization conducted under the supervision of the War Industries Board unprecedented fortunes fell upon war producers and certain holders of raw materials and patents. Hearings in 1934 by the Nye Committee
Nye Committee
The Nye Committee, officially known as the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, was a committee of the United States Senate which studied the causes of United States' involvement in World War I...

 led by U.S. Senator Gerald Nye
Gerald Nye
Gerald Prentice Nye was a United States politician, representing North Dakota in the U.S. Senate from 1925-45...

 were intended to hold war profiteers to account.

Members of the War Industries Board


The original seven members of the War Industries Board were:
  • Al M. Boolock
  • Cheyenne T. Wade
  • General Palmer E. Pierce
  • Admiral Frank F. Fletcher
    Frank Friday Fletcher
    Frank Friday Fletcher was an United States Navy admiral who served in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was awarded the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions as commander of Navy forces at the Battle of Veracruz, Mexico.-Biography:Fletcher was born on...

  • Bernard M. Baruch
  • Robert S. Brookings
    Robert S. Brookings
    Robert Somers Brookings was an American businessman and philanthropist, known for his involvement with Washington University in St. Louis and his founding of the Brookings Institution.-Biography:Brookings grew up on the Little Elk Creek in Cecil County, near Baltimore, Maryland...

    , head of the Cupples Co., a distribution firm
  • Robert S. Lovett, President of Union Pacific Railroad
    Union Pacific Railroad
    The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

  • Hugh Frayne, of the American Federation of Labor
    American Federation of Labor
    The American Federation of Labor was one of the first federations of labor unions in the United States. It was founded in 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor association. Samuel Gompers was elected president of the Federation at its...



Other later members included:
  • Clarence Dillon
    Clarence Dillon
    Clarence Dillon, , was an American financier, and namesake of Dillon, Read & Co., an investment bank.-Background:...

    , partner in Dillon, Read & Co.
    Dillon, Read & Co.
    Dillon, Read & Co. was a prominent American investment bank from the 1920s into the 1960s.-Origins:Dillon Read traces its roots to 1832 with the founding of the Wall Street brokerage firm Carpenter & Vermilye. This firm was succeeded by Read & Company in which chief principal was William A. Read. ...

  • Hugh Samuel Johnson
    Hugh Samuel Johnson
    Hugh Samuel "Iron Pants" Johnson American Army officer, businessman, speech writer, government official and newspaper columnist. He is best known as a member of the Brain Trust of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932-34. He wrote numerous speeches for FDR and helped plan the New Deal...

  • George Cameron Stone
    George Cameron Stone
    George Cameron Stone was a well-known American arms collector and author as well as an American mining engineer and metallurgist...

    , head of Non-Ferrous Metal section
  • Eugene Meyer
    Eugene Meyer
    Eugene Isaac Meyer was an American financier, public official, publisher of the Washington Post newspaper. He served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933. He was the father of publisher Katharine Graham.-Biography:Born in Los Angeles, California, he was one of eight children of...

    , Special Advisor to the War Industries Board on Non-Ferrous Metals
  • Edward Stettinius, Sr., partner in J.P. Morgan & Co.
    J.P. Morgan & Co.
    J.P. Morgan & Co. was a commercial and investment banking institution based in the United States founded by J. Pierpont Morgan and commonly known as the House of Morgan or simply Morgan. Today, J.P...

  • Walter D. Stewart

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