Tom Goldstein, "A Tale of Three Cities: How the United States Won World War II"

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States' massive industrial power to produce a great deal of high tech weapons delivery systems.

In short, Dr. Kennedy concluded, Rouen was significant because from August 17, 1942 until the present, fighting from the air has been the United States' preferred fighting method, and this strategy helped win World War II with relatively few American lives lost.

Washington, D.C. was the next city Dr. Kennedy discussed. He focused specifically on Donald Nelson, head of the War Productions Board that was in charge of the transition from a peace to a wartime economy. In 1941 they had decided on the Victory Program, calling for ambitious target levels of production and mobilization. In 1942 Nelson decided that these goals were unfeasible because they threatened to encroach on the civilian standard of living. This debate became what was known as the "Feasibility Dispute" as the military strongly disagreed with him. Dr. Kennedy then explained that on October 6, 1942 Nelson and the military had a showdown at which he prevailed and the targets and pace of mobilization for war were loosened. There were two consequences of this decision. First, the target date for D-Day of June 1, 1943, would be pushed to May 1, 1944. Second, the target for mobilizing 215 divisions was scaled down to only 90 divisions. This latter decision was known as the "90 division gamble." In other words, a key decision was made to fight a war that did not rely primarily on the strength of ground troops and that would not encroach a great deal on the civilian standard of living.


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