Defense Industries in North Texas, 1941-1965: the Social and Economic Impact on Bowie County

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World War II was a watershed in American history, altering Americans' perceptions of their place in society. This study focused on Bowie County, Texas, during the twenty-five-year period that began with America's entry into the war. The construction of two defense plants there, Red River Army Depot and Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant, brought immediate changes to surrounding communities, and local residents faced many challenges as they struggled to adjust. This study used extensive primary sources, including archival materials from Red River and Lone Star, oral histories from former employees, census information, minutes from the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, and ... continued below

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vi, 293 leaves

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Brantley, Janet G. August 1995.

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  • Brantley, Janet G.

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Description

World War II was a watershed in American history, altering Americans' perceptions of their place in society. This study focused on Bowie County, Texas, during the twenty-five-year period that began with America's entry into the war. The construction of two defense plants there, Red River Army Depot and Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant, brought immediate changes to surrounding communities, and local residents faced many challenges as they struggled to adjust. This study used extensive primary sources, including archival materials from Red River and Lone Star, oral histories from former employees, census information, minutes from the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, and local newspapers, to document the social and economic impact of these plants on Bowie County. The body of this dissertation contains nine chapters. Chapters two and three describe how Bowie County obtained and constructed its defense plants, and chapters four through six focus on changes precipitated by the plants during the war years. Chapters seven through nine explore the social and economic impact of the defense presence on Bowie County through 1965. The impact of the defense industries on Bowie County was significant. Plant construction brought thousands of workers into the county, and local residents faced housing, transportation, and sanitation problems. Texarkana experienced serious problems, but its dedicated Chamber of Commerce worked to see that the city benefitted in the long run. During the next twenty-five years, women increasingly entered the work force, but in Bowie County they continued to hold traditional values; jobs provided extras for their families more often than ties to the women's movement. As elsewhere, farmers left farming for factory work, but in Bowie County most clung to their land and their way of life. The world changed for African Americans in Bowie County as well, for by 1965, blacks and whites were working and playing together. The plants introduced employees to industrialization's benefits and drawbacks. With fluctuating employment levels causing concern, business leaders advocated economic diversification. Bowie County, however, experienced continuity as much as change, for residents accepted social changes only when they were necessary for economic development.

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vi, 293 leaves

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 1995

Start & End Dates

  • 1941 - 1965

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • March 24, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 10:42 a.m.

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Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Brantley, Janet G. Defense Industries in North Texas, 1941-1965: the Social and Economic Impact on Bowie County, dissertation, August 1995; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277856/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .