THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS: CONSTRUCTION IN THE UNITED STATES. By Lenore Fine and Jesse A. Remington. ( 1972, 1989; 747 pages, 20 tables, 27 charts, 5 maps, 98 illustrations, appendix, bibliographical note, glossary, index, CMH Pub 10-5.)
Shortly before the United States entered World War II on the side of the Allies, the responsibility for military construction in the United States was transferred from the Quartermaster Corps to the Corps of Engineers. This major shift in mission took
place in two steps. First the engineers took charge of Air Corps construction in November 1940. Then, just weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor, they took over all military construction in support of the expanding Army. In the course of the war, the engineers carried out a multibillion-dollar program of construction. To do this, they converted their decentralized network of field offices from water resource projects to the new mission. The result was a massive engineer construction effort that ranged from the barracks, hospitals, and other buildings that made up entire new camps to munitions factories and the complex and far-flung facilities employed in the Manhattan Project for production of the atomic bomb.
Construction in the United States is replete with citations, statistics, and Army organization charts to make clearer an otherwise potentially confusing subject. More importantly this volume is also a history of people: of military leaders and their staffs and of civilian engineers, contractors, and suppliers, giving human interest to the narrative that covers all phases of this remarkable program. After describing the arrangements under which military construction was carried out during World War I and the interwar years, the study covers the political negotiations involved in the change and the many administrative adjustments made by the Corps of Engineers as it adapted to being the Army's construction agent. The authors trace the execution of the mission through the dramatic rapid expansion in 1942 to peak production in 1943. They also cover planning for demobilization, which began during the period of the greatest construction activity.
1. Wartime contracting policies and practices (Chs. l, II, III, V, VIII, XIII, XVII).
2. The use of standardized construction plans (Chs. II, IV, V, X, XVI).
3. Acquisition, control, and apportionment of strategic materials (Chs. II, Vl, IX, XVI).
4. Relations between the government, contractors, and labor unions in the construction trades (Chs. V, X).
5. Striking a balance between construction for troops and for industrial production (Chs. VIII-X).
6. Real estate acquisition and disposal (Chs. V, Xl1, XV).
7. Planning for demobilization (Ch. XVIII).
8. The special characteristics of airfield construction (Chs. XIV, XIX).
9. Construction in support of the Manhattan Project (Ch. XX).
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