Hagley Author Talk: Destructive Creation in World War II

During World War II, iconic images of workers assembling tanks, guns and warships spoke to the effort taking place on U.S. soil while our soldiers fought on the other side of the world. Dr. Mark R. Wilson, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, will explore this military-industrial mobilization during a Hagley Author Talk.

Dr. Wilson’s talk is based on his recently published book, “Destructive Creation: American Business and the Winning of World War II.” He also wrote “The Business of Civil War: Military Mobilization and the State, 1861-1865.”

“Most of us are familiar with the Rosie the Riveter posters and wartime images showing women and men across the U.S. rolling up their sleeves and helping to produce materials and supplies during World War II,” said Roger Horowitz, director of Hagley’s Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society. “Wilson’s book is the first to document just how expansive the military-industrial mobilization was and the impact of American business on the Allies’ winning of the war.”

In his talk, Dr. Wilson will offer a groundbreaking reinterpretation of the history of the giant U.S. military-industrial mobilization for World War II. Although the “arsenal of democracy” was based on complex partnerships among private firms, government and the military, business leaders worked hard to obscure the contributions of the public sector. Their success became an important foundation for the long postwar march toward privatization and deregulation.

The talk will highlight Dr. Wilson’s use of Hagley’s extensive collections. He used several of the library’s records, including those of the DuPont Company Explosives Department, Sperry Gyroscope Company, J. Howard Pew Personal Papers, the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Reservations requested: Contact Carol Lockman, 302-658-2400, ext. 243.

The lecture will be held in the Soda House auditorium. Use Hagley’s Buck Road East entrance off Route 100 in Wilmington, Delaware.