U.S. Cotton in WWII

While World War I may not have shown economic growth in the cotton industry in the United States, the following war, World War II would.  With the United states leading in manufacturing during the war, the nations found itself with a surplus of cotton.[1] The Berry Amendment aided a bit with this production, forcing all military supplies to be produced in-house by the United States.[2] Now they created almost 50% of all the world’s raw cotton.[3] Egypt, the once leader of the cotton industry, found itself in a completely opposite situation.  With war on their lands, cotton crops turned to necessity of food.  Less trades went through as well, leading to a significant drop in cotton manufacturing.  Now, Egypt found themselves producing only around 4% of the world’s cotton.[4] The U.S. in 1948 created almost 52% of the world’s cotton, leaving Egypt at about 6%. [6]

In 1948, when Congress met to discuss Germany and their production of synthetic fibers. The desire of the U.S. was not to block off the economy of Germany. This could be assumed to be from the experience after WWI’s demands on Germany. Germany could still create synthetic fibers, although there would be limits to the production. [6] Cotton was preferred, as the chemicals that went into synthetic production could potentially be used for future warfare. With the fear of the Cold War and Russian claim to cotton manufacturing, the United States had to make sure they retained their claim.  Congress moved in 1948 to sell excess cotton textiles to occupied areas, like that of Germany and Japan to help promote the market.[5]

Cotton, which is widely overlooked today as a big part of our world, led the U.S. in taking the crown in manufacturing in WWII. It is almost odd to think of fabric manufacturing as a concern after war, and how control of the markets can help subdue other countries.



[1] James L Forsythe. “World Cotton Technology since World War II.” Agricultural History 54, no. 1 (1980): 208-22. Accessed February 6, 2021.

[2] “DPAP: Contract Policy and International Contracting: International Contracting: Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a).” DPAP | Contract Policy and International Contracting | International Contracting | Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a).

[3] Royall Brandis. “Cotton Competition. U. S. and Egypt, 1929-1948.” Southern Economic Journal 19, no. 3 (1953): 339-52. Accessed February 17, 2021. doi:10.2307/1054356.

[4] Brandis. Cotton Competition

[5] Forsythe Ibid pg 214

[6] “European Recovery Program,” Google Books (Google, 1948), https://books.google.com/books?id=rJEtAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA1065&ots=tCgrJdXhLq&dq=germany+not+allowed+to+make+synthetic+fabric+after+WWII&pg=PP5#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Bibliography

Brandis, Royall. “Cotton Competition. U. S. and Egypt, 1929-1948.” Southern Economic Journal 19, no. 3 (1953): 339-52. Accessed February 17, 2021. doi:10.2307/1054356.

“DPAP: Contract Policy and International Contracting: International Contracting: Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a).” DPAP | Contract Policy and International Contracting | International Contracting | Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a). Accessed February 6, 2021. https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpic/ic/berry_amendment_10_usc_2533a.html.

“European Recovery Program.” Google Books. Google, 1948. https://books.google.com/books?id=rJEtAAAAMAAJ&lpg=PA1065&ots=tCgrJdXhLq&dq=germany+not+allowed+to+make+synthetic+fabric+after+WWII&pg=PP5#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Forsythe, James L. “World Cotton Technology since World War II.” Agricultural History 54, no. 1 (1980): 208-22. Accessed February 6, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3742607.

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