Published Date

September 1, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

From GI Roundtable 22: Will There Be Work for All? (1944)

The question of jobs after the war is of personal importance to everyone. Discussion of it deserves thoughtful preparation and guidance on the part of the leader.

This pamphlet of course cannot and does not give the answers many would like to have to their personal questions. It does, however, indicate clearly what attempts are being made now to assure, as far as it is humanly possible to do so, that the answers will be satisfactory when they can be given. If servicemen and women are to make intelligent decisions about postwar jobs, it is also important for them to understand the basic factors that will affect those decisions. Such factors have been carefully explained.

You will note that the material has been organized around the series of questions listed in the table of contents. If you reproduce these questions on one large chart (or on three separate charts, each for one major section into which the text is divided), you will provide a valuable aid for thinking by your group.

Still another suggestion may appear practical to you. This is to plan your discussion as a comparison of what happened after the 1918 Armistice with what it is anticipated will be done to provide work for all when World War II is over.

Scattered through the text you will find other questions besides those used as headings. Some of these may be helpful to you in stimulating discussion or in anticipating questions which are likely to come from the floor. It is a good idea to list them for possible use during your meeting.

Additional questions are listed here:

  1. Do you think that mass unemployment can be permanently ended? Or do you think that it is inevitable? What are the important factors that make the employment level vary, from time to time?
  2. What should be the place of business, of labor, and of government in making and in carrying out postwar employment plans? Is an individual’s “right to work” matched by an obligation on the part of somebody else to give him work?
  3. How do you feel about legislation prohibiting certain kinds of people from holding certain kinds of jobs? Would you favor a law barring women, for instance, from some employments as a method of assuring jobs to returning soldiers?
  4. Should government units plan public work projects to make postwar jobs? Should planning be done now or not until the appearance of mass unemployment requires it? Should public work be limited to construction projects using manual labor, or should projects in the fields of public health, education, recreation, and the social services be included? What hours and wages should be set in comparison to those of local private enterprise?
  5. If there is a shortage of jobs in your line in your home locality, should there be an opportunity for you to take retraining for a different kind of employment? Should you consider moving to another place where there are jobs to fit your abilities? What other factors besides a local job shortage would influence your decisions?
  6. Would you consider it a good investment in your future to go back to school or college if you do not immediately find a job to your liking? Would you see any advantage in getting more education even if a pretty good job was open to you right away?
  7. Do you expect to have more freedom or less freedom in choosing, your employment after the war than before? Why?
  8. How can a man in the Army prepare himself for return to civilian occupations? Does the Army offer individuals a chance to increase their ability and training in specialized lines? Do you think that Army training and experience has had values for you that make up for time and experience lost on a civilian job?
  9. In order to attain “full employment” after the war, would it be better to demobilize the Army quickly or gradually?
  10. Do you think it is likely that any new industry will provide large numbers of jobs after this war as the automobile industry did after World War I? Why do you think so? What industry would it be?


Suggestions for Further Reading

These books are suggested for supplementary reading if it so happens that you have access to them. They are not approved nor officially supplied by the War Department. They have been selected because they give additional information and represent different points of view.

When Demobilization Day Comes. NO. 14 of Planning Pamphlets published by National Planning Association, 800 Twenty-first Street, N. W., Washington, D.C (July 1942).

Jobs and Security for Tomorrow. By Maxwell S. Stewart. No. 84 of Public Affairs Pamphlets published by Public Affairs Committee, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York 20, N.Y. (1943)

When I Get Out Will I Find a Job? By Maxwell S. Stewart. No. 86 of Public Affairs Pamphlets published by Public Affairs Committee 0943).

Postwar Re-Employment: The Magnitude of the Problem. By Karl T. Schlotterbeck. Published by Brookings Institution, 722 Jackson Place, N.W., Washington 6, D.C. (1943).

Absorbing the Total Labor Supply. By Emerson P. Schmidt. Bulletin No. 5 of Post-War Readjustments published by Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, 1615 H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. (1943).

Employment of Men and Women Discharged from Military Service. Report of the Department of Manufacture, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America (February 1944)

Postwar Employment Opportunities. Published by National Industrial Conference Board, 247 Park Avenue, New York 17, N.Y. (1944).

As We Win. Report No. I of the Department of Research and Education, CIO Postwar Planning Committee, 718 Jackson Place, N.W., Washington 6, D.C. (1944).

Post-War Program. Published by Postwar Planning Commit-tee of the American Federation of Labor, got Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (1943).

Employment after the War. By John H. G. Pierson. Published by Postwar Planning Committee of the American Federation of Labor (1943).

War and Postwar Adjustment Policies. By Bernard M. Baruch and John M. Hancock. Published by American Council on Public Affairs, 2153 Florida Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (1944).