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Female worker in a bullet production assembly line. Location unspecified. 1942.Bettmann/Getty Images
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Women workers assemble lines of transparent noses for deadly A-20 attack bombers. location unspecified. 1942.Library of Congress
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A worker places a metal bar into a large electric phosphate smelting furnace used to make elemental phosphorus in a TVA chemical plant in the vicinity of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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A woman operates a hand drill while working on a Vengeance dive bomber at a factory in Vultee-Nashville, Tennessee. 1943.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Riveting team works on the cockpit shell of a B-25 bomber at the plant of North American Aviation in Inglewood, California. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Secretaries, housewives, waitresses, and all sorts of other women from all over central Florida learn welding at a Daytona Beach branch of the Volusia County vocational school. 1941.The U.S. National Archives
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"Big Pete" Ramagos, rigger at work on Douglas Dam in Tennessee. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Women work alongside men in this Midwest aluminum factory now converted to production of war materials. These young workers are assembling 37mm armor-piercing bullets. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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A woman works in the control surface department assembling a section of the leading edge for the horizontal stabilizer of a plane. Inglewood, California. 1942.
Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Male and female workers put together machine gun parts on assembly lines. Location unspecified. 1942.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Welders make boilers for a U.S. Navy ship at a Combustion Engineering Co. factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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A woman works on a Liberator Bomber at Consolidated Aircraft Corp. in Fort Worth, Texas. 1942.Howard R. Hollem/Library of Congress
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A member of a construction crew builds a new 33,000-volt electric power line into Fort Knox, Kentucky. Thousands of soldiers are in training there, and the new line from a hydroelectric plant at Louisville is needed to supplement the existing power supply. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Inspectors at the Long Beach, California, plant of Douglas Aircraft Company make a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Airplane factory in Stratford, Connecticut that produced more than 6,000 Corsair fighter planes with fold-up wings for use onboard aircraft carriers. 1943.Bettmann/Getty Images
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Brand new assembly line at Detroit Tank Arsenal operated by Chrysler that turns out 28-ton tanks by mass-production methods. 1942. Gordon Coster/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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The B-25 final assembly line at North American Aviation's Inglewood, California plant. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Riveter at work at the Douglas Aircraft Corporation plant in Long Beach, California. 1942.
Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Three women war workers of Marineship Corp. Location unspecified. 1942.The U.S. National Archives/Flickr
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Three "chippers" working at a shipyard. Location unspecified. 1942.The U.S. National Archives/Flickr
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A young worker builds railways at the 40th Street machine shops in Chicago, Illinois. 1942. Jack Delano/Library of Congress
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Workers construct a building on the site of a new steel mill that will soon turn out steel for the war needs in Geneva, Utah. 1942.Andreas Feininger/Library of Congress
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Worker service one of the floodlights that turn night into day at the big construction operations for a new steel plant that will make important additions to the vast amount of steel needed for the war effort. Location unspecified. 1942.Andreas Feininger/Library of Congress
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Operators cut and drill parachute packs at a Pioneer Parchute Company factory in Manchester, Connecticut. 1942. William M. Rittase/Library of Congress
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Workers mount a motor on a Fairfax B-25 bomber at a North American Aviation, Inc., plant in Inglewood, California. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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An inspector confers with a worker as she makes a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes at Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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A Boeing-Wichita B-29 assembly line. Location unspecified. 1942.United States Army Air Forces/Wikimedia Commons
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B-24 Liberators under construction at Ford's Willow Run manufacturing complex in Michigan. Date unspecified.U.S. Army Signal Corps/Wikimedia Commons
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Workers assemble B-25 bombers at a North American Aviation factory in Kansas City, Kansas. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Part of the vast machine shop at a Navy yard, where machine tools that took months to build are now stepping out with production parts and materials needed for Navy expansion. Location unspecified. 1941.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Female workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17 bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant in Long Beach, California. 1942.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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Workers put the nose section of a transport plane in place in the fuselage mating fixture at the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation plant in Fort Worth, Texas. 1942.Howard R. Hollem/Library of Congress
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Male and female workers tighten rivets together. Location unspecified. 1943.The U.S. National Archives/Flickr
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An ex-housewife, aged 24, files small parts to make M5 and M7 guns for the U.S. Army. She is working at the Vilter Manufacturing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her husband and brother are in the armed service. 1943.Howard R. Hollem/Library of Congress
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Five women work with the Baltimore & Ohio railroad as trackwomen. They helped maintain and inspect railroad tracks during the war. 1943.The U.S. National Archives/Flickr
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Workers Martha Bryant and Eulalie Hampden operate a bolt cutting machine. 1943.Alfred T. Palmer/Library of Congress
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A woman war worker inspects 1,000-pound bomb casings at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. factory in Omaha, Nebraska. 1944.MPI/Getty Images
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A riveter at work for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in Burbank, California. 1944.The U.S. National Archives/Flickr
38 Rousing Photos Of The American Workers That Helped The Allies Win World War II
The story of the United States' involvement in World War II is well known to even those with only a passing knowledge of history. In schools across America, kids learn much about their country's great wartime victories overseas at places like Iwo Jima and Normandy.
What we know less about are the people behind the scenes, those back on the home front who ensured that the U.S. Army was the best equipped to win the war. By arming and supplying the troops, as well as maintaining and building bases for them to train at, these home front laborers helped ensure U.S. victory over the Axis as much as the soldiers on the front lines.
In fact, these laborers had been hard at work before the U.S. military even joined the war following Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Throughout the years prior, American laborers had been producing weapons and vehicles on a mass scale for the Allies.
Via the Lend-Lease Act, starting in early 1941, the United States provided the Allied nations of the United Kingdom, Free France, China, the Soviet Union, and others with food, oil, weapons, planes, and tanks in exchange for leases on land in their nations on which the United States could build army bases.
Then, after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. ramped up production even more in order to provide for its own military. This massive effort required vast numbers of workers, including many women who stepped in due to the fact that so many American men had entered military service. In fact, realizing that they often required workers more than soldiers, the government transferred many drafted men from the Armed Forces into the Enlisted Reserve Corps where they would work to help the war effort on the home front.
Because of the efforts of these women and men, the U.S. was able to not only win the war but also build the strongest, most industrialized military in the world. And on the home front, war production efforts helped the U.S. climb its way out of the Great Depression. In fact, by the end of the war, the U.S. was the most prosperous nation on the planet.
Furthermore, following their increased involvement in the labor force during the war, American women used this opportunity to join the workforce permanently, giving them a wider degree of autonomy and self-sufficiency than they had previously had.
For these reasons and others, America's wartime production program allowed the country to become the superpower that it is today. The images above show how the enormous task of wartime production that was completed on the home front, and how it changed the U.S., and the world, forever.
Next, see the true-life history of Rosie the Riveter with this photographic look at the factory women who helped the U.S. win World War II. Then, view some of the most heartbreaking images that document the massive internment of Japanese-Americans at Manzanar Relocation Center during World War II.