Why was the government so concerned about rising prices during World War 2?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Many men entered the military either as volunteers or draftees. At one time there were some sixteen million men in military service. This naturally created a labor shortage, and a labor shortage could lead to a demand for higher wages. If wages went up, then consumer prices would go up as well, since all goods and services would cost the providers more to supply. In addition, there was a huge shortage of some consumer goods because manufacturers were converting to producing war materials. The auto makers stopped producing automobiles for civilians for several years. The last models sold were the 1942 models which had been produced in late 1941 before Pearl Harbor. Tires were hard to find. Shoes were rationed. So was meat and gasoline. The federal government forestalled inflation by creating agencies to control wages and prices. But all in all the civilian population did not suffer very much. There was full employment, which was an extremely important factor in maintaining good morale. There was also a patriotic spirit inspiring Americans to put up with sacrifices.


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