The Economic and Social Effects Of World War II On The City of Macomb, And McDonough County, Illinois

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Bennett, Michael T.
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Western Illinois University
The purpose of this thesis is to examine how America's involvement in World War II affected life in Macomb and McDonough County. Many aspects of wartime life are analyzed to detect changes brought about by the war. The effects of the war fall into three broad categories: economic, social, and participation in the national war effort. This thesis attempts to demonstrate how the unique characteristics of the local area affected the wartime experiences of local residents. One chapter is devoted to each of these broad categories. Chapter I examines the impact of the war on the local economy and how these effects differed between the local area and the nation as a whole. Attention focuses on changes in the agricultural, industrial, and commercial sectors of the economy brought about by the war. The second chapter focuses on social changes within the community during the war. Changes in population characteristics, housing, crime, race, and education are analyzed and put into the context of changes nationwide. The third chapter centers on local participation in the war effort, and how this participation compared to that of the nation. Included in this chapter are discussions of rationing, scrap drives, military participation, bond sales, and civil defense issues. By examining historical events from a local perspective, studies such as this point out the differences as well as the similarities in the experiences of different segments of the American population. Such works help provide a richer and more complete understanding of the American experience in World War II.