Traveling Tuesday: Georgia Does Its Bit
The southern state of Georgia made great contributions to the war effort during World War II. Bordered by Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and the Atlantic Ocean, Georgia is the last and most southernmost of the original thirteen colonies. The state’s geography varies from the mountains of the Appalachian Mountain system to the Piedmont plateau and coastal plains. In 1829, one of the earliest gold discoveries in the U.S. happened in the North Georgia Mountains leading to the establishment of a federal mint in Dahlonega.
Named after King George II of Great Britain, the colony covered an area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and West to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. In 1788, Georgia became the fourth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
The Great Depression hit Georgia hard, and was part of an economic study conducted by President Roosevelt’s cabinet. World War II served to put the state back on its feet, but unlike other U.S. states, the improvement was not immediate.
Eventually, every major city in Georgia had a military installation of some kind. Columbus housed Fort Benning as the largest infantry training school in the world, and Robins Field in Macon became an Army Air Force Depot, and Atlanta native Colonel Charles Thomas oversaw construction. The Navy trained combat pilots at the University of Georgia in Athens. Hunter Field and Camp Gordon trained thousands of enlisted men.
Defense contractors swarmed to the state building factories. Bell Aircraft employed 28,000 people to produce B-29 bombers. Macon and Milledgeville were home to ordnance plants. Brunswick, located at the confluence of three rivers, and Savannah located on the Savannah River, made perfect locations for shipyards. Of the eighteen shipyard on America’s coast, these towns were two of the nation’s largest facilities. The plants became so proficient, they produced one 440-foot liberty ship every eighty-nine days, ultimately manufacturing ninety-nine between 1943 and 1945.
The downside to the manufacturing sector was the impact to agriculture. Men left the farms as they enlisted or were drafted (agricultural deferments didn’t begin until 1942). Farm workers moved to the defense industry where salaries were exponentially higher. Some farmers sold their land to defense contractors. Italian and German prisoners of war housed at Camps Gordon and Stewart were used to supplement the need for workers during harvest season.
Approximately 320,000 Georgians served in the armed forces, with about 7,000 giving the ultimate sacrifice.
About The Widow & The War Correspondent: Coming June 15
Are a new life and new love possible in a country devastated by war?
Barely married before she’s widowed after Pearl Harbor three years ago, journalist Cora Strealer travels to England where she’s assigned to work with United Press’s top reporter who thinks the last place for a woman is on the front lines. Can she change his opinion before D-Day? Or will she have to choose her job over her heart?
A sought-after journalist, Van Toppel deserves his pick of assignments, which is why he can’t determine the bureau chief’s motive for saddling him with a cub reporter. Unfortunately, the beautiful rookie is no puff piece. Can he get her off his beat without making headlines…or losing his heart?
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