The 1940s were one of the pivotal decades in the development of American business. During the decade the economy rebounded from depression; big business recovered its tarnished public reputation; wages and earnings reached new heights; and powerful new sectors of the economy developed, especially in the production of consumer goods and military hardware. Close cooperation with government (and in some instances outright government control) and labor unions produced a stable domestic climate for business, and business and government worked to build markets and advantageous trade overseas. American business in the 1940s was dominated by preparation for World War II, by the war itself, and in the late years of the decade by the Cold War. The silver lining among these storm clouds of war was the positive effect of war on the American economy. By the end of the decade Americans never had it so good.
Shadow of the Depression.
As the decade began American business was still struggling with the effects of the Great Depression. The Depression had brought unprecedented hardship to millions of impoverished Americans, and despite assistance from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programs, that hardship continued. With wages low and unemployment widespread, American business had few buyers for its goods. Abroad, markets once...
(The entire section is 2601 words.)
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