Being there . . . . to do your share in America’s “Arsenal of Democracy” (President Roosevelt’s
concept) between 1941 and 1945 when our people built more than 255,000 aircraft, almost
100,000 tanks, some 350 destroyers, and 225 submarines, to say nothing of over 100,000 odd
war products. Far from the front lines of the Pacific War and the War in Europe, mobilization,
organization, and distribution of the American workers continued until mid 1945 unabated,
thanks to being unhampered by bombing. By far the largest and strongest economy in the
universe, our country was devouring over 40% of its own massive monies on war production,
producing 43% of all the world’s fighting weapons. Even with increasing shortages in fewer
consumer commodities, and “Total War” the theme song played loud and clear on a daily basis,
childless housewives, widows, and unmarried younger women joined in singing one of the most
popular songs of 1942, “It’s the girl that makes the thing that holds the oil that oils the ring,
that works the thingumabob that’s going to win the war!” Texas and Texians, of course, were
among the first to shout, “. . . . let’s get on with it so we can win this damn thing and get back to
our normal lives of working for ourselves, playing for health and enjoyment, and loving as we
see fit.” To follow up in reliving and understanding such values in home front wartime
conditions, read the story of what was going on in one aircraft factory near the heart of Texas.
What insight it offers!
“THE DALLAS STORY” EXAMINES THE VICTORIES AND DEFEATS OF A SPECIFIC AVIATION
FACTORY IN WORLD WAR II AMERICA’S “ARSENAL OF DEMOCRACY”, IT’S RELATION TO THE
LOCAL COMMUNITIES, AND THE SAD CLOSURE OF THE FACILITY AT THE END OF THE WAR
Reviewed and Highly Recommended by Don DeNevi
“THE DALLAS STORY – – THE NORTH AMERICAN AVIATION PLANT AND INDUSTRIAL
MOBILIZATION DURING WORLD WAR II”, No. 16 in the War and the Southwest Series,” by
Terrance Furgerson. University of North Texas Press: 2023, cloth, 416 pages, 6”x 9”, 25 b&w
illus; $40. Visit, www.untpress.unt.edu.
So refreshing to read such an inspiring story of true, strong American men and women, most
carrying the blood of their pioneer Texian parents and grandparents. In this well-written,
sterling account of the North American Aviation plant’s preconstruction days, followed by the
stunning attack on our nation, December 7, 1941, then the overnight construction and opening
of the factory, NAA’s daily operations come into focus – no different than similar steps of
thousands of other factories, many dealing with our aviation efforts to fill the needs of our air
force and those of our Allied nations.
Prior to the opening of the factory in 1941, the city of Dallas had no existing industrial base.
Despite this deficiency, the residents rolled up their sleeves and quickly learned the craft of
manufacturing airplanes. By Pearl Harbor, the NAA factory was mass-producing the AT-6 trainer
aircraft. The entry of the United States into the war brought an enlargement of the NAA
factory, and the facility began production of the B-24 Liberator bomber and famed P-51
Mustang fighter. By the end of the war, the Texas division of NAA had manufactured nearly
19,000 airplanes, making it one of the most prolific aircraft factories in the Western
Using government documents, company records, and news reports from the era, Terrance
examines the NAA plants successes and failures as management and employees worked to
maintain production while dealing with manpower, material, and housing shortages for almost
40,000 workers. When production fell behind schedule, the Truman Committee investigated
with four days of contentious testimony on what was going wrong at NAA. The company’s
controversies highlighted many of the same difficulties experienced by most of the other
factories in wartime America.
In short, Terrance Furgerson, a professor of history at Collin College near Dallas, merges the
military, political, and business worlds with social history during wartime industrial
mobilization, and, just as importantly, its impact on the people and workers living nearby.