By Tom Dare
STUNNING images show how American preparations for World War II have been fully restored into colour almost seventy-five years to the day after being originally taken.
The photos, which show volunteers helping to build ships, planes and artillery guns, were taken just a few months after America’s entry to the war following the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941 at the hands of the Japanese.
America was one of the biggest producers of arms during the war, but even before Pearl Harbour President Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt had authorised a huge increase in production, which included a doubling of the USA’s navy. It has been said that, although he lacked the approval from Congress to enter the war in Europe, Roosevelt saw war with Germany and eventually Japan as ‘almost inevitable’.
However, after the killing at Pearl Harbour of 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, as well as the destruction of 19 U.S. Navy ships, American production increased drastically.
Over the next four years, the US manufactured 102,410 tanks, 2,679,840 machine guns and 105,000 mortar rounds. They also produced 99,000 fighter jets, 97,000 bombers and 6,771 large ships, more than any other nation involved in the war effort.
Millions of volunteers such as the ones pictured were needed during the war effort, helping prepare the Americans to fight in both the Pacific and European theatres of war.
America did pay the price eventually for their involvement in the war, though, with 418,500 civilian and military personnel killed during the conflict.
Many of the pictures were taken at the Corpus Christi naval base in Texas. Created in 1941 in anticipation of the coming war, Corpus Christi would prove vital to the war effort, taking in an estimated 300 new recruits every month for the better part of four years. By the time the war was over, it is estimated, more than 35,000 airmen had gained their ‘wings’ from the base.