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WW2 effects: Pennsylvania

Discussion in 'WWII Today' started by JJWilson, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone! I have one of the most anticipated WW2 effects yet, one that has been highly requested and talked about since I began this series in October of last year........Pennsylvania! Pennsylvania has an illustrious and impressive history, along with an incredible story and contribution to WW2 that I seriously enjoyed learning about. I hope you all learn something new, and of course, enjoy!

    Pennsylvania Pre-WW2
    Pennsylvania was first settled in the early 17th century by English and Dutch settlers, many of whom have stayed on their farms and communities up until now. The importance and influence of the English Colony would grow until the time of the American Revolution, where the colony would play a key role in helping the other 13 colonies achieve independence and freedom. Pennsylvania's largest city, Philadelphia, was home to many Founding fathers such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and many others. Philadelphia would also be the place where arguably some of the greatest man made documents were created, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States. Pennsylvania would maintain it's importance in the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, and the beginning of the 20th century. Pennsylvania before the back half of the 19th century was a mostly agricultural and banking central economy, but with the Industrial Revolution in full swing, this would change significantly. Pennsylvania was the first state to Industrialize, starting a smaller American Industrial Revolution that would change the nation, and Pennsylvania, forever. Factories, ship yards, and steel mills began popping up around every corner of the state. Pennsylvania began to enjoy a major economic boom, while also experiencing a massive growth in population, as people traveled across the country, and the world to work in the factories and mills of beautiful Pennsylvania. All was going well for the state, and the nation, until 1929. With the beginning of the Great Depression, Pennsylvania experienced it's biggest economic crisis ever, and the effects were devastating in places. The demand for steel, and other factory made goods decreased dramatically, and even the state's agricultural sector was stagnant. Many mills and factories were forced to cut thousands of workers, or even shutdown due to the worsening economic conditions. Despite the increased poverty and unemployment in the state, Thousands still flocked to the state, especially immigrants and blacks from the South looking to get away from the discrimination and lack of opportunities in the south. With FDR's new deal, projects popped up around the state, such as paving roads, fixing older bridges, and building new government buildings. In 1940, with war raging across the world, the USAAF ordered the construction of 6 airfields in the state, the Philadelphia Naval yard was updated and expanded, the New Cumberland Army depot was also upgraded and expanded, and a brand new 21,000 acre ordnance depot was constructed at Letterkenny northwest of Chambersburg. Factories and Steel Mills also experienced a rebirth of sorts when the demand for Steel and Iron works rose exponentially with the beginning of the Second World War. It wouldn't be until the U.S became involved that Pennsylvania would show it's true arsenal of Democracy....

    Pennsylvania WW2
    When the war finally came to the U.S, Pennsylvania was ready to take on the task. The state's nearly 10 million people would all have a part to play in the war effort, and the fact Pennsylvania had the second most populace state in the union would greatly help the cause. However, not all of the state's inhabitants were willing to help put on a war. Many of the state's Amish and Quaker's refused to help a war effort as they are ardent pacifists. This created a rather large debate as to whether religious duties outweigh that of the state, finally the decision was made to not place the Conscientious Objector's in camps, but rather employ them as National park employee's, farm hands, school teachers, and other jobs. Pennsylvania contributed an incredible 1.25 million men for service during the war, and this forced the state to construct and re-open any camps. The nearly 200 year old Carlisle Barracks, the second oldest army base in the nation, once again took on tens of thousands of Soldiers, being one of only a few military colleges. Another unique and grand military camp also trained it's fair share of personnel during the war, Camp Reynolds. "The original Camp Shenango, which later was to become Camp Reynolds, which was unlike any other military depot at that time, not only in formation but also in construction. Its impressive array of service clubs, gymnasiums, chapels, libraries, theaters, hospitals, post exchanges, guest facilities, etc. rivaled those of any post in the country."(Wikipedia). Sharing the same fields of the Great and deadly battlefield of Gettysburg, Camp Michaux was one of a few POW interrogation camps in the country. While Pennsylvania was churning out new recruits, it was also churning out millions of tons of war materials. "Fueled by year after year of federal funding, Pennsylvania's industries profited mightily during World War II. The Commonwealth's industrial plants manufactured everything from tanks and battleships to radio crystals, parachutes, rations, and 100-octane aircraft fuel. The scale of production was staggering. Steel mills across the state churned out about one-third of the nation's steel and one-fifth of the world supply. Bethlehem Steel and its subsidiaries around the country produced more steel than the Axis powers combined, and contributed greatly to rapid construction of the two-ocean navy needed to win the war." (PA History). Pennsylvania provided 31% of the U.S's Steel, and 20% of the World's supply, a staggering statistic. In Hershey Pennsylvania, Chocolate was sent to the troops across the world, and many non-Americans got to taste of American Democracy, including German and Soviet Soldiers. Despite the great success and prosperity in the state, Thousands of people from surrounding states flocked to the state to partake in the prosperity, this caused a shortage in housing that was not fully resolved until the 50's.

    Pennsylvania Post WW2
    Out of the 1,250,000 men from Pennsylvania who served with virtue, for Liberty and Independence, 26,554 gave their lives. Following the war, Pennsylvania emerged stronger and more resolute than ever before, the state's people felt the patriotic pride of victory and marveled at what they had accomplished. Their contribution to the war, and the upholding of freedom and liberty was an example not just to the rest of the nation, but the world. While a natural dip in productivity and income occurred after the war, Pennsylvania continued through the 20th century with a booming and successful economy. While Pennsylvania has begun to distance itself from the lucrative, but aging Coal, Oil, and Steel industries, it has taken on new and more promising economic avenues involving electronics and technology. The state houses an incredible 50 fortune 500 companies, and it's population has grown to 12 million people. Pennsylvania should continue in it's prosperous ways for decades to come......
    Pennsylvania - Wikipedia
    ExplorePAHistory.com - Stories from PA History

    In Memory of our great LRusso216's Father............Staff Sergeant Louis A. Russo
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
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  2. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    William Penn, the state was named after him
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    The founding Fathers ratifying the Constitution in Philadelphia 1787
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    Pittsburgh in the 1940's, layered with smog from the many steel factories in the area....
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    Philadelphia in the 1920's
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    Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1955.......
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    A Steel mill in Pittsburgh.....unknown date
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    Carlisle Barracks, the U.S Army College
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    Women working at a factory in Erie Pennsylvania
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    A Hershey's bar in ration D form....
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    Philadelphia today
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    Rocky Balboa in Philadelphia for the classic film, Rocky
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    Pittsburgh today
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    All of Pennsylvania's sport's teams......the Steeler's were named in honor of the steel workers during the Second World War
     
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  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    Cool! The Philadelphia Navy Yard photo shows the Reserve Basin and ships of the 'mothball fleet'.

    In the Pittsburgh shot, I believe the bright red car is one of several funiculars, angled railways going up the ridge.
     
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  4. Half Track

    Half Track Active Member

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    Thanks for your post. I have lived in Pennsylvania all my life and much of your post is familiar. I have spent much time in Philadelphia and was discharged from the Navy Yard in August of 1969. Frequented a lot of restaurants there, been to many Phillies and Eagles games and my son graduated from LaSalle University in North Philly. Every time I travel on route 95 to the stadiums I glance to my right and view the Navy Yard and the “mothball fleet.” I was born in the coal regions of Pa. and raised in Lancaster County. I live only a short distance from Carlisle and the War College and have visited the War Museum there which is very interesting.
     
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  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It's the Duquesne Incline, one of the two still in operation - The other is the Monongahela Incline. At the height of operations, there were 17 inclined railways.
     
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  6. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure where the idea Carlisle Barracks was a "military college" came from? It was the Medical Field Service School from 1920 to 1946, training up some 30,000 officers and EM, before it was transferred to Fort Sam Houston.

    On a personal note, the war effected my family's part of Pennsylvania. My Dad's brother Bill volunteered for the Marine Corps, trained at New River, North Carolina and served with the Marine contingent at Belfast, Northern Ireland. My Dad entered the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College and Polytechnic Institute (better known as VPI then and Virginia Tech now) after he graduated high school in 1939 as part of the Corps of Cadets. Scheduled to graduate in the spring of 1943, his senior class was accelerated, graduating in February 1943, after which he went directly to OCS and commissioning in the Coast Artillery in April 1943. Then he went to the Antiaircraft Artillery School at Camp Davis, North Carolina, coincidentally near his older brother. Dad trained originally with the 116th AAA Gun Battalion, but when it prepared for overseas movement in September he was transferred to the 537th AAA AW Battalion in "trade" for a more experienced officer (a common occurrence) and so went from 90mm guns to .50 caliber and 40mm guns. They went overseas in February 1944 and landed across UTAH on 14 June.
     
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  7. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your reply Rich, my apologies about the Carlisle Barracks, it was my understanding that it was called a military college by Civilians and former residents of the barracks, but it is definitely not a traditional college.
     
  8. Half Track

    Half Track Active Member

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  9. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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  10. Half Track

    Half Track Active Member

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    Ok
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    With tongue firmly planted in cheek...Yeah, I have no idea either.
    Army War College Homepage
    Sounds neither military or college to me.
     
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  12. Half Track

    Half Track Active Member

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    If you have never been to the museum there, stop out sometime, well worth it inside and tanks and helicopters outside.
     
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  13. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well, du-uh... but it was at Washington Barracks until it closed during World War 2, not opening at Carlisle Barracks until 1950 IIRC.

    Oh and Ridgway Hall at AHEC and Root at USAMHI are great library resources.
     
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  14. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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    The only other question I have, is why on earth was Camp Michaux on top of the Gettysburg battlefield??
     
  15. Half Track

    Half Track Active Member

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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
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  16. JJWilson

    JJWilson Well-Known Member

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  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    It's not, it's about 15 miles north-northwest of Gettysburg, in the upper end of Michaux State Forest. I guess, figuratively, one could say they "share the same fields", but literally, they do not.
     
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  18. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Well, Camp Colt was on the Gettysburg Battlefield...more or less, but that was the Great War.
     
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  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    All in all, there were 12 POW base camps, 18 branch camps, 1 prison, and 1 internment camp(Previously it had been a USN Radio school, used as an internment camp opening in August, 1945, and closed in November that year) in PA during WW2.
     
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  20. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    Nicely done JJ.

    Born and raised in PA, I will always consider it home although I left some time ago. I grew up right outside Philly and remember my Pop explaining the historical sites along the way while heading to games or spending a day in the city. Good read.

    BTW...you forgot to mention one key element in your post. I will rectify that for you.
    914529702.jpg.0.jpg

    There we go.
     
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