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  • ✪ Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex
  • ✪ VOA news for Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018
  • ✪ VOA news for Wednesday, November 21st, 2018


>> From the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. >> John Haskell: Today, the program is entitled The Origins of the Military-Industrial Complex. It features CRS specialist in national defense, Dr. Daniel Else, who's sitting right here in front of me, who is this year's Kluge Staff Fellow, which is really a prestigious position. While at the Kluge Center, Dan has been using items from the Library collections to investigate the origins of the military-industrial complex through the wartime and immediate post-war, meaning post-World War II, evolution of the relationship between scientific research industry and national defense. Dan's been at CRS a long time. He's advised Congress on defense issues. I was a colleague of his at CRS for several years. Dan did things that were in connection to what I knew and a whole range of things -- Defense Production Act, Military Construction Appropriations, and he does many more things there at CRS where he will be returning later this fall. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from George Washington University, and as many of you know, at CRS, he's the author of numerous reports on defense trade and security. This project is the latest example of the kind of work undertaken by staff fellows, showcasing their knowledge and passion about their areas of expertise. This is funded by the gift left by the late John W. Kluge that founded the Kluge Center back in 2000. The staff fellow is one of nearly a hundred scholars who pass through the center each year. It has been our privilege to have Dan with us for the bulk of the last year and during his tenure here. Please join me in welcoming Dan. [ Applause ] >> Dr. Daniel Else: Okay, well, thank you very much. How's this working? Okay? All right. All right, this is an inquiry into the evolution of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his Farewell Address to the Nation on January 17, 1961, dubbed The Military-Industrial Complex. Exactly what Ike meant by that term has been debated ever since, but for the purposes of this talk, let's regard it as a perceived informal alliance between a portion of the nation's scientific and technological community, its defense establishment, and certain sectors of the country's industrial base. Specifically, we'll focus on a World War II temporary government agency that was created in 1940 and passed out of existence at the end of 1947: the Office of Scientific Research and Development, or OSRD. This year, I've been trying to answer three relatively narrow research questions. Why did OSRD exist? Why do those who have studied OSRD consider it to have been superbly effective? And what are its legacies, and are there echoes of OSRD that we can hear today? I owe a great deal of thanks to a number of individuals who have conspired to make this inquiry possible: the 2016 Kluge Scholars Council, who plucked my application from the pile and deemed it worthy of attention; the then-acting Librarian of Congress, David Mao, for appointing me to the position; the dedicated staff of the Kluge Center itself. I and my fellow fellows have wanted for nothing during our stays here. They include Emily Coccia, Travis Hensley, Anastasia Jones, Mary Lou Reker, Daniel Torello, and he who must not be named, the brand new Kluge Center director, John Haskell. The other stars in this drama are the fantastic resources of the Library of Congress itself. I have wallowed through the library for a full year and barely touched upon its resources that bear directly on my own small project. There are, of course, the stacks and stacks of books maintained by the Collections and Services Division, under Helena Zinkham; the online catalogs that guide you and through which these treasures are brought to you; the e-journals that stretch back decades; the databases of congressional documents and the laws of the land. Special mention is merited for two unique resources: the most complete collection of technical reports prepared under contract to the OSRD, along with scientific intelligence gathered by the Alsace missions to the European and Pacific theatres of operation, which are curated here by Lawrence Marcus and his colleagues in the Library's Automation, Collection, Support, and Technical Reports section. And the Personal Papers collection entrusted to Jeffrey Flannery and the crew of the Library's Manuscripts division. They, with some help from their contemporaries at the Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman Presidential Libraries, and archivists at the Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology provided the material from which this study has come. And by the way, the relevance of the holdings at the library were highlighted by an inquiry today received by Lawrence Marcus and his crew for a specific OSRD technical report that is wanted by another government agency. If there's a central figure to this story, it's Dr. Vannevar Bush. Vannevar rhymes with "achiever," or in his case, perhaps, "over-achiever." An inveterate inventor, professor of electrical engineering at MIT and co-founder of the company now known as Raytheon, he was Dean of MIT's School of Electrical Engineering and the institute's vice-president before he moved to the capital at the beginning of 1938 to take up the directorship of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, now known as the Carnegie Institute for Science. During World War II, he was appointed as chair of the National Defense Research Committee and later became the director of its umbrella organization, the Office of Scientific Research and Development, and became the unofficial scientific advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt. These wartime organizations exerted a profound influence on the impact of technology on the conduct of the war, including the introduction of atomic weapons and the ensuing post-war relationship between the federal government and scientific research that has developed since 1945. Today, government support for scientific research, especially at the most basic level, is taken for granted. This was not always the case. Traditionally, what passed for scientific inquiry was supported by individual fortunes or by wealthy sponsors. After the creation of the United States, even inquisitive, science-minded chief executives found it difficult to expand support for American science beyond private philanthropy, primarily due to the strict reading of the Constitution by states' rights advocates. There was no explicit mandate to support science, so any federal support to efforts such as the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the founding of the Naval Observatory in 1830, or geological surveying and mapping projects had to be justified under the Constitution's Article I, Section Eight: admonition of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states and with the Indian tribes. Thus, science had to be good for business. In the middle of all this, a wealthy British chemist inadvertently threw a constitutional hand grenade. James Smithson, never married and without children, died in 1829, leaving his considerable estate to his nephew. Said nephew, likewise unmarried and without heirs, had the audacity to pass away himself in 1835. Anticipating this, Smithson has stipulated that the next use of his endowment would be to found in Washington, a place he had never visited, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. Congress belatedly accepted the bequest in 1838 and started seven years of haggling over what the ensuing institution should be: a library, a university, a museum, or something else. Its first secretary, Joseph Henry, steered it into becoming a center for scientific learning. At the same time, the benefits of scientific enhancements to the nation's dominant agriculture economy were becoming apparent, especially along the agriculture-dominated frontier of the Midwest. Prodded by Professor Jonathan Baldwin Turner of Illinois College, Representative Justin Smith Morrow of Vermont introduced a bill in Congress in 1857 to grant tracts of federal land to the states for the purposes of established agricultural colleges. It finally passed both houses in 1859, but was vetoed by President James Buchanan on a strictly delineated constitutional grounds argument. The states' rights obstacle soon resolved itself, though, through secession. When the congressional delegations of the 11 seceded Southern states absented themselves from Washington, Morrow reintroduced his land grant bill, which was an Act in 1862, giving us what are now known as land grant colleges. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, all manner of inventors flocked to the capital to offer up their devices for the war effort. We've all heard stories of individuals showing up at the War and Navy Departments and even at the White House, eager to demonstrate the effectiveness of their projects. It soon got so bad that the Secretary of the Navy appointed a Navy Department permanent commission of three scientists to screen the flood of suggestions. At the same time, a group of three scientists -- Alexander Basch, a geographer, Louis Agassiz, a biologist, and Henry David -- excuse me -- Charles Henry Davis, a Navy astronomer -- persuaded Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts to introduce a bill that would put a new scientific community at the service of the federal government to investigate, experiment, and report on any subject when requested by a federal department. The bill was one among dozens that were enacted on the last day of the lame duck session of the 37th Congress and that established the National Academy of Sciences. After 1865, American inventiveness turned away from war and toward commerce and industry. Development of the lands of the West did promote some agencies to investigate natural resources. The Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce and Labor, and the National Park Service appeared during this period. While government research tended toward the applied end of the research spectrum, newly-created private foundations, such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Carnegie Institute of Washington, supported much of the nation's basic scientific research. Military technology, though, continued to advance among the European nations, particularly in Germany, Britain, and France. Military aircraft, submarines, poison gas, and the machine gun revolutionized warfare, and when the United States entered the conflict in 1917, the country found that it had to mobilize the entire economy and society for war and that advancing science needed to be applied to weapons and industrial development. In the event, though, the conflict provided a number of lessons on how not to do it. Neutrality before 1917 inhibited any pre-hostility preparation; to the extent that they could, existing federal laboratories including the newly-created National Advisory Committee on aeronautics -- NASA's predecessor -- possessed considerable scientific expertise, but they were oriented toward peacetime development, and once the U.S. entered the war, had no contact with the War or Navy Departments. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels tried to replicate the Civil War experience by asking Thomas Edison to head a Naval Consulting Board of scientists and engineers to solicit suggestions for solving some of the Navy's pressing problems such as submarine detection. Other bodies set up through legislation and emergency powers included a Council of National Defense, which, like other temporary wartime agencies, suffered from ill-defined mission and authority. The National Academy of Sciences, unable to assist organically, suggested to President Wilson that a National Research Council be established under its authority to organize war research outside of its own membership. After the U.S. entry into the war, the Council on National Defense brought the National Research Council under its wing as its research arm and the Naval Consulting Board as its board of inventions. However, military departments favored direct control over the research that might affect its operations. In addition, there were just no specific legal means for the Army or Navy to funnel appropriated funds to civilians for specific scientific work. Therefore, the principal means by which technology found its way into the war effort was through the temporary commissioning of scientists and engineers into the services themselves. Thus, between the relatively disorganized efforts of the Council on National Defense, the federal civilian laboratories, and the military services, technology and even industry could not hit its stride before the Armistice of November 1918. Demobilization began as soon as the guns fell silent. Scientists surrendered their commissions and the Naval Consulting Board effectively ceased to exist. Federal laboratories returned to peacetime pursuits, the National Research Council turned from organizing wartime scientific research to the promotion of civilian scientific societies, and it soon ceased to use any government funding. After the war, the NACA continued a vigorous, if sparely funded, program of aeronautical research. The Council of National Defense, though, had outlived its usefulness and was suspended in 1921. Nevertheless, the Naval Consulting Board had recommended, back in 1916, that the Navy create its own research facility. Because various factions could not agree on a site for the facility, the Naval Research Laboratory was not commissioned in any [inaudible] until 1926. All government science until now had been concentrated on the natural sciences, but the burgeoning industrial economy, overtaking traditional agriculture and the advent of government planning and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal -- with those, the importance of social sciences came to the fore. For example, in the form of Ethelbert Stewart of the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the left, and Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace. FDR appointed Karl Compton, a physicist and president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1933 to head a Science Advisory Board. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, for there was no appropriation, the board tapped academics and industrial scientists to study the organization of various government bureaus. In the course of its limited life, the board suggested that the study of basic science underpinned all other research and should become an end in itself. It also proposed a New Deal for science, using government funds to support research at universities. Compton's plan, however, proved too ambitious and was resisted by another FDR-appointed body, the National Resources Board, which was headed by FDR's uncle, Frederic Delano. Ultimately, Compton's plan failed to gain sponsorship. Military research during the interwar period was minimal, and a small anecdote may explain why. In 1934, a board headed by former Secretary of War Newton Baker recommended strengthening Army research and development above the equivalent of $74 million that it was in the early 1930s. The Army General staff in the person of Deputy Chief of Staff General Stanley Embick responded by concluding that "the Army needs large quantities of excellent equipment that has already been developed." The outbreak of World War II and the high technology weaponry immediately deployed gave lie to such an attitude, and some within the nation's technology community responded. In large part, that response took the form of a new National Defense Research Committee, or NDRC. The three individuals most responsible for its creation and effectiveness were Vannevar Bush, President of the Carnegie Institute of Washington; James Conant, a physicist and the president of Harvard University; and Karl Compton. They and others used the experience of World War I and Compton's 1930s studies to develop a different organization for supporting the coming war effort. The lead individual was Bush, who used his relationship with Frederic Delano to gain an audience in early 1940 with FDR's close advisor, Harry Hopkins. At that meeting, he outlined an organization that could leverage the prestige of its central actors to become the interface between the existing university research organization and the War and Navy Departments. Revising and using the existing authority of the Council of National Defense, Bush proposed a National Defense Research Committee that would be created by the president within his Office for Emergency Management under his special emergency powers that existed in 1940. The committee would be empowered to support research on the mechanisms of warfare, except where those activities would overlap with the NACA or the War or Navy Departments. Importantly, this NDRC would undertake its own research on instrumentalities, methods, and materials of warfare. Lacking any direct statutory authority, the NDRC would be funded by the president's emergency funds that had been made available to him by Congress. Hopkins persuaded FDR to meet with Bush on June 16th, 1940, and the president gave his immediate approval. The NDRC officially stood up on 27 June 1940. The organizers knew that the efforts of the previous war floundered in part because of the separation between military services and the research organization. Therefore, the committee included senior representation of both the War and Navy Departments and Bush, reporting directly to the President, was able to cultivate close relationships with the Secretary of War and with the Secretary of the Navy. Scientific societies were represented by Frank Jewett, the president of the National Academy of Sciences who also happened to be the director of Bell Laboratories, thus involving industry. Conway Coe, the commissioner of patents, was also on the committee along with James Conant and Karl Compton. The Navy was represented by Rear Admiral Harvey Bowen, who was the director of the Navy Research Lab, and the Army assigned a Brigadier General G.B. Strong. As originally organized, the NDRC set up five divisions to break down war research into manageable disciplines. The intended vehicle for prosecuting studies was to let contracts to existing university and industry laboratories for the development of various mechanisms and other techniques useful to prosecuting the war. Where individual labs might not prove helpful, the NDRC contracted with universities to establish purpose-built research centers. One such laboratory was MIT's radiation laboratory, or Rad lab, that specialized in the development of airborne radar and navigation systems. It soon became overloaded so a second laboratory, the Radio Research Lab, was created at nearby Harvard University to specialize in electronic countermeasures such as radar chaff. Things soon got more complicated, and in 1942, NDRC reorganized into 23 separate subordinate organizations. It didn't stop there, though, as the Council of National Defense brought other organizations under its umbrella. It soon became apparent that the NDRC would be more effective if it expanded its mandate. Therefore, on June 28, 1941, FDR signed an executive order establishing the Office of Scientific Research and Development, or OSRD, and appointed Vannevar Bush as its director. OSRD tied itself closely to the relevant government agencies through its advisory council, which consisted of Harvey Bundy, an assistant to the secretary of war, and also the father of McGeorge Bundy, who you may -- some, those of us of a certain age may have heard of. James Conant, now the chair of the NDRC, Rear Admiral JA Furor, the coordinator of research and development at the Department of the Navy, Jerome Hunsaker, chair of the NACA, and Dr. A.N. Richards, the chair of the newly established Committee on Medical Research. Because coordination with the British had been close since the creation of the NDRC, the OSRD established a liaison office in London, and with the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, CIA's predecessor, getting, which was getting involved in unconventional warfare. So Bush created a liaison with General Donovan's organization. Subordinate to OSRD was the expanded NDRC, the Committee on Medical Research, which organized development of medicines, such as penicillin, and also developed psychological studies -- things like what was called battle fatigue, etc. were studied. The Office of Field Services, which deployed scientists to combat theaters to assist with the introduction of newly developed devices and techniques to combat commands and which staffed the Alsos intelligence missions mentioned earlier. The Obligatory Office of the Executive Secretary, which kept everything running, and several special sub-organizations. Three of these organizations are worthy of special note. Section T developed the proximity fuse, also called a variable time or VT fuse. This fuse caused an antiaircraft shell or artillery shell to explode when it reached a specific distance from an object, such as an airplane or the ground. Its existence was considered so secret and so effective that it was forbidden to be used over land where it might fall into enemy hands. Therefore, it saw its first use in the Pacific aboard Navy ships trying to deal with the kamikaze threat; and in Britain, where it shot down V1 buzz bombs that were headed for London. Only after a direct intervention by Bush himself with the Joint Chiefs of Staff was it permitted to be deployed to Europe for use in the ground war, just in time to have a devastating effect on German troops during the Battle of the Bulge in December of 1944 and January of 1945. The S1 executive committee was the Manhattan Project. Most folks know that atomic weapons were created by the Manhattan Project under the command of Major General Leslie Groves, but that's only part of the story. Development of an atomic weapon was authorized by President Roosevelt in 1940 under the NDRC. The Army was brought in first during 1942 to manage the mass of construction that the effort needed. Not until mid-1943 did the Manhattan Engineering District under Groves begin to assume control of the scientific contracts that had constituted the research effort, and the NDRC, through James Conant's S1 committee continued to support the scientific personnel. So, if you measure the program initiation, if you measure the program from initiation to the day of the first atomic device being dropped on Hiroshima, the Army ran the program less than half the time. The third organization of special mention is the Agency Committee on Selective Service. World War II, during World War II, more than 16 million Americans served in uniform in a country that then numbered about two hundred million. Today our active military numbers are less than a million in a country of about 380 million. In World War II, money for projects was plentiful, but trained technical people were not. The services needed to bring in soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines at an ever-quickening pace, and eventually, even the most highly skilled scientists were likely to be called up. The impact of the loss of just a few trained technical people could cripple research programs. So this agency, the Agency Committee on Selective Service, and Bush himself, were heavily involved in securing drafting from its critical personnel. Let's turn to the practices that OSRD and its subordinates put in place to prosecute their mission. Project initiation. Projects could be initiated by a request from one of the services: the War and Navy departments, Army, Navy, Marine Corps; or by allies, the British, the French in exile, etc., etc. ; or on NDRC's or OSRD's own initiative. Constant and close liaisons through the Office of Field Services and the rotation of operational personnel through the research labs as they came back from the field kept everyone abreast of current operations and the needs of those who were in combat. Development in patent registration. The labs would develop a project to a certain point and when patents became necessary in order to protect intellectual property, the practice was that the office of OSRD itself would register the patents and register them to the United States government. However, once done, those would be freely available for licensing at no charge to virtually anybody who wanted. Prototyping and initial production. Bush turned physicists into engineers and they were all deeply involved in creating the devices that their theoretical approaches had created. If manufacturers were too involved in war work or if the demand for a particular device wasn't going to exceed more than a couple of hundred articles, the NDRC created the Research Construction Company, adjacent to the MIT campus, to handle prototype and small-scale manufacturing, so they became their own manufacturer. At the appropriate time, OSRD handed off projects to the services or to industry to continue large-scale manufacturing. Finally, the Office of Field Services provided what we would call today technical support to the military units that receive the new equipment. Thus, OCRD and its constituent units explicitly avoided the fate of its predecessors, such as the Naval Consulting Board. In fact, within a month of the creation of NDRC in 1940, Secretary of Commerce Harry Hopkins created a National Inventors Council within his department that acted as the World War II screen for independent inventors, unaffiliated scientists, and citizens at large, relieving what might have been a crushing weight on OSRD. Let's move on to show a few examples of OSRD's work: the bazooka, for example. The DUKW or "duck" [phonetic]. Any of you who have taken a tour from Union Station are familiar with the DUKW. That was an OSRD creation that was passed off to General Motors for production. Development and production. Another example is what you all see in wartime movies, the mine detector. The mine detector, a handheld soldier-carried detector of mines in the field was also a development of one of the research centers at OSRD. And of course, there was airborne radar and atomic weapons. During the war, OSRD or NDRC created a number of those centralized research centers and these are where they were and what they specialized in. For example, the University of Illinois had a -- was chemistry, along with the University of Chicago. Princeton University studied ballistics. University of Michigan specialized in explosives. Massachusetts Institute of Technology as we noted was radar. Woods Hall, Oceanographic Institute: logically enough, underwater sound. And so on and so forth. The number of contracts, the value of contracts converted into 2017 dollars stand as follows. There have been some scholars who have averred that perhaps the Northeast, elite institutions in the Northeast were favored by OSRD contracts. However, if you take a quick look at the non-industrial contractors, the top 25, they're scattered from coast to coast. I don't think there's much value to the allegations. Also, the industrial contractors, they would be contracted not only to conduct research but to provide manufacturing, and you can see them there. The Research Construction Company, as we saw before, was number two on that, for the number of devices that they created. Okay, post-war scientific research. What happened after the war was over? Well, OSRD wound down almost immediately to be replaced by a permanent entity. The idea, Bush's idea was that we wanted to institutionalize the federal funding of basic scientific research, and this was an opportunity to do it. There was a consensus on the need for federally funded basic scientific research but not on the form or the mandate. So, essentially two camps were created to conceptualize what became the National Science Foundation. You had Bush on one side, and you had Senator Harvey Kilgore of West Virginia on the other. Bush was a classic technocrat; he wanted everything done by the merits of the individual project, including the organization that would be administrating it. Kilgore, on the other hand, was a [inaudible] New-Dealer. He wanted to make sure that the entire country benefited from this and the research that they would fund would be socially relevant. And in the end, President Truman got into the act, so we essentially had a trifecta. The original 1946 proposals for the National Science Foundation, both Bush and Kilgore agreed that a central federal research agency was necessary, that the natural sciences should be its object of research, medicine should be researched, defense should be researched. Social science research, not so much on Bush's side; he was a natural scientist at heart, even though he was only an engineer, and Kilgore on the other hand thought that was a great idea. Geographic dispersion of support, Bush didn't care; Kilgore did. Applied research. Bush didn't want to have anything to do with applied research because that would detract from the basic research mandate that was supposed to be at the heart of this. Kilgore, on the other hand, wanted to see some sort of social benefit come out of this, so his proposal included all of that. Patent ownership, Bush pressed for private ownership of federally funded research; Kilgore thought it should be, the ownership should stay with the government. Political control of the foundation -- this would be the appointment of the senior officers, etc., etc., and oversight by Congress. Bush, not so much. He wanted the technocrats to run the show. Kilgore, on the other hand, he thought it was a good idea. And should it be independent of executive agencies? Both thought that was a great idea, much as OSRD had been. So, what actually happened? In 1946 there was no NSF legislation. The Atomic Energy Commission was created at that time. The Office of Naval Research was created. The War Department, realizing, belatedly realizing the value of scientific research, stood up a research and development division, and the War and Navy Departments between them established a Joint Research and Development Board, an advisory board, actually with Bush at the head, to advise the War and Navy Departments on research that should be conducted. The Senate managed to pass a compromise National Science Foundation bill, but it didn't go anywhere. The House sat on it. Okay, let's move forward to the next year. Research -- now we have a Department of Defense and, therefore, the Joint Research and Development Board was replaced by a Research and Development Board that advised the Assistant Secretary of Defense for research and engineering. There were seven NSF bills introduced that year, and one passed. But because of the lack of adequate political control in the eyes of the president, he vetoed the bill, and OSRD went out of existence at the end of that year. 1948, the Air Force created its Office of Air Research. It also got involved in the scientific research game. An amended NSF bill passed the Senate, but the House again sat on it. In 1949, another amended NSF bill passed the Senate. The House took no action. In the meantime, part of the mandate of the Office of Naval Research was to find basic research science. So as it turns out, the Office of Naval Research became the primary funder of basic scientific research by the federal government during this period. Finally in 1950, the Air Force created a larger organization, the Air Research and Development Command. The House finally passed the Senate bill that had been passed the year before, and the president signed the bill, establishing the National Science Foundation. So in that five-year gap, what we saw was the creation of a number of military, Department of Defense organizations for science and scientific research, and the final NSF bill contained no mandate for military research for the National Science Foundation. So, what are its legacy organizations? A number of federal agencies can trace their origins back to the OSRD. National Science Foundation, of course, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Development and Engineering, or, and Evaluation Command, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, DTRA, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DARPA, of course, and in the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is the custodian of atomic stockpile. A number of research centers exist that can trace their origins back, at least conceptually. Universities still have research, defense-dedicated research centers at them, and here's a list of what the current inventory is. There's also an organization or complex of FFRDCs, or Federally Funded Research and Development Corporation. And finally, the Department of Energy's national laboratories are the direct descendants; in fact, some of them are the survivors of the Manhattan Project. So, getting back to the research questions. Why was there an OSRD? In my opinion, timing had a lot to do with it. It was only 20 years between the end of World War I and the initiation of the US involvement in World War II. So the lessons that were learned during World War I were still fresh, and the people who learned those lessons were in positions of senior management by the time it became necessary. The opportunity. The state of the federal government and of industry was propitious. We were coming off at the end of the New Deal at that point. Federal government had expanded a lot during the 1930s and so it now might have had the capability of actually taking on the management of a research and development effort of this magnitude. Also, the US enjoyed a very robust industrial base at that point in time. They could also respond. The individuals involved. FDR, goes without saying; the triumvirate of Bush, Compton, and Conant, who were all interested in the topic and had eminent, were eminently qualified to carry it through. And the need: technological war was evident, and the US found itself in 1939, 1940 far behind the state of military science in Germany, Britain, and in France. So why was it so effective? Really the crux of the matter comes down to the fact that there was a war on. There was a mindset that required cooperation, collaboration, and dedication. And also, a significant factor was the organizational model that was chosen by Bush and his compadres to manage the effort that was needed to support the war. And what was the OSR's legacy? Well, first and foremost was the USA's monopoly on atomic weaponry that existed between 1945 and 1949. That was a gift that FDR was very cognizant of, and Harry Truman also. Second would be the enduring relationship that came out of the war between the scientific and technical communities, the federal government in general, and the Defense Department in particular, and the industrial base that had supported them. But this came at a cost during the war. Essentially, the training of technical personnel during World War II was frozen. All effort went into what was immediately going to be available to prosecute the war effort. Therefore, there was very little training of, at the master's and doctorate level, of scientific personnel, and Bush felt that very strongly. So he put into the NSF legislation the ability to provide scholarships and graduate fellowships for scientific training of personnel after the war. But what is a legacy that we don't hear, that perhaps we should? And that is, as we saw from the legacy organizations that were listed at the end of the presentation, all of the organizations listed there are part of the federal government, in one way or another. There is no independent voice. And we found during World War II that the independent research initiated by NDRC and OSRD as part of their war effort provided real value to the services that they sometimes did not want to accept but found to be very effective. For example, the application of operational research, statistical analysis to strategy and tactics, something that Army and Navy had never considered and were not interested in. But it proved extremely effective in the war against the U-boats in the Atlantic, and in other areas and theaters of war. The DUKW itself, the Army Quartermaster Corps couldn't have cared less about an amphibious truck that could ferry goods from a ship off shore to the beach. But it proved extraordinarily effective after it was introduced in Sicily in 1943. And afterwards, president Marshall, or -- excuse me -- General Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, told the Army Quartermaster Corps chief to congratulate his troops on the development of the DUKW, although they had nothing to do with it and they had to accept it over their own objections. So the independent voice could be a very effective and useful tool that no longer exists. With that, I thank you very much. [ Applause ] >> We have time for a few questions. There's mics on both sides [inaudible], and Dan will call on you. >> Daniel Else: Or I might not call on you. [Inaudible] There he is. >> Superb as -- Is it on? I wondered whether, in terms of why it was effective. Now, I'm making this up as we go. You know from ten years since I've had the pleasure of doing business with you. I wonder if there was a coincidence between the state of military art and the state of the physical sciences so that the physical science -- where the physical sciences were about to go that nicely just happened to mesh. What I'm thinking of is, military power was largely contained in very large, discrete objects that were very lethal: submarines, bombers and so forth. And if you happened to come up with a way to detect small numbers of very large -- hey, that's not bad. We're now at a point where we're dealing with individuals and the state of physical and social science and behavioral sciences, not so clear at how much leverage there is there. I mean, we tried the, you know, the, what's the human terrain teams and so forth and so on. But it doesn't seem to have gained the kind of leverage that this process you've described so well here did. And I wonder if there was something I -- again, I'm just making this up as I go. But I wonder if it just happened to be just the right point, both in the state of the arts of war and the state of the physical sciences that, by God, it meshed like hands in a glove. >> Daniel Else: Thank you for that insightful question, Ben. I can only guess. And in hindsight, everything looks like it really should've worked out that way: boy, what a coincidence. I think, though, if you take a look at it, the folks who were going through it in 1949, 1945 didn't think that it was just a coincidence. They had to work very, very hard and think outside of a whole number of boxes to be able to come up with things like the VT fuse, the airborne radar, submarine detection, etc., etc. Magnetic anomaly detection was originated during this period. So I wonder -- I must defer the question but pose another one. To what extent, I wonder, does the outside influence, the outside status, let's say, of something like NDRC that promotes independent thinking, how much did that play into a specific number of devices? And I suspect there are a significant number, but you'd have to do a whole lot of research to figure out. Because the way that the cooperation worked, perhaps some soldier in the field would suggest something like a rocket-propelled grenade. Okay, well, NDRC would then say, "Oh, that's a good idea," jump on it, develop it, hand it off to industry. Who gets credit for that? Because a lot of -- I'll give you an example of the atomic bomb. That was something that in Vannevar Bush's view, was going to happen anyway. It didn't require a letter from Albert Einstein to FDR. It didn't require anything else, because as soon as nuclear fission, atomic fission was discovered and proven in 1938, the entire scientific community, whether it was funded by governments or not, took off. They were looking to see, is there a -- is it feasible for there to be atomic fission? And if so, then what can we do with it? And so it was going to happen anyway. And so what Bush did was he convinced FDR that this was something that we needed to get in front of, and who knew how far along the Germans were, because they discovered the darn thing. And so that became the Manhattan Project. But it was something that eventually would've happened anyway. So timing, as I noted earlier, is critical in life. Ninety-nine percent of success is showing up. But you've got to be in the right place at the right time. Anybody else? Yes, ma'am. >> Thanks. I had a, first I had a couple questions, just a short -- you said the Department of Defense was created, what was -- What year? Did you say -- >> Daniel Else: 1947. National Security Act of 1947. Its original title was the Department of National Defense, yeah. Department of National Defense. >> Okay. Perfect. And then my second quick question was, what were the other countries? You said that the U.S. was technologically behind militarily in 1939, 1940. You said Germany, France and? >> Daniel Else: Britain. >> Britain, okay. >> Daniel Else: Britain likes to claim a lot of the credit for things like the atomic bomb and radar and all that sort of stuff, but as we noted earlier, there were a lot of people working on a lot of things at that point in time. So who gets credit? Whoever has the loudest press release, I guess. >> And then my final question was, I was curious how far we were behind those countries. If you could kind of give examples -- you spoke a little bit about it in the answer earlier about Germany, but I was just curious like how far we were behind, and then any other examples. >> Daniel Else: Well, I don't know how you could develop a metric for that, especially a statistically significant metric. But many of the -- let's just say many of the ideas that were later developed into war devices originated elsewhere and were brought in. We benefitted greatly by the number of emigres from Germany who came over just prior to World War II. They brought their scientific and technical knowledge with them. The Brits, the Brits, when they got -- when they were getting their butt handed to them in 1940, came over to the United States and started pushing on us some of their laboratory concepts that had maybe, might have been helpful. For example, the klystron, which is the heart of not only your microwave dinner, but also the airborne radar. They brought over a laboratory sample and then we had to take it and turn it into something they could actually use in an airplane. The variable time fuse, the VT fuse originally started out a little bit as an idea that somebody in the UK had. They brought it over. We had to turn it into something that would survive 20,000 Gs when fired out of a cannon and still explode at the other end at the right time. So let's just say we did not have -- we had not devoted the thought to developing the groundwork for development, but once we got the ideas, we were very successful in turning them into something that made a difference on the battlefield. >> Thank you. >> Hi. My question is, a lot of the devices that you're talking about that were developed in the war period, and even in the decades after, eventually filtered out into other civilian uses, like you just mentioned the microwave, etc. To what extent is that still happening, and is there a pipeline between -- that pipeline between what's developed in these military research studies out into civilian life and industry? >> Daniel Else: Well, I don't think there's a way to measure, let's say, the flow of the number of ideas. But if you take a look at the funding, let's just say the funding, that goes into research and development, on the part of the federal government, particularly the Department of Defense, and let's say private industry, that line -- we started the post-war period with the Department of Defense or War and Navy Departments kind of up here, and commercial entities down here, and that line crossed in the early 1950s. And it looks like this now. So that's why you see, that's why you see soldiers out in the field using their smartphones: because they're smarter than anything DoD can give them and such. And there are, though -- DoD has been conscious of that, and over the recent years, let's say, they've been trying very hard to build pathways to bring commercial technology back into the defense and create pathways such that that can happen quickly, expeditiously and, hopefully, cheaply. And in fact, there's a member of the audience here you can address that specifically to after we get finished. Okay, two more. Time for two more. Just over here and in the center. >> You had your hand up. >> Daniel Else: Oh. [Inaudible] Oh, I did? Okay. Then over here, and then in the middle. Thank you. [ Inaudible ] >> Real quickly, you mentioned a lot of the bureaucratic characteristics of the OSRD that contributed to its successes: independence, its ability its own projects, its ability to work very closely with the services. What lessons would you say that the services should take from that in the contemporary environment with the development of a bunch of rapid acquisition pathways, prototyping funds that they should carry forward to have those efforts be a little bit less fragmented and a little bit more successful? >> Daniel Else: Hmm. Well, trying to make it less fragmented implies that you need a central organization that's actually governing it. And as we just -- you just saw a sampling of the number of organizations in the Department -- just within the Department of Defense that are devoted to research and engineering, and so therefore, I think until you get a strong, centralized authority within the department, you're always going to have fragmentation like that. But one advantage was, as we mentioned earlier, OSRD was outside the government. And what it did was its contract, it contracted with existing scientific organizations at universities, so that they didn't move the scientists into the War Department or the Navy Department. They left them at their universities. They created spaces for them to work at their universities, and therefore, they didn't disrupt the programs that were ongoing. So I think that contributed, too. And so I think you need a centralized authority to kind of get a handle on that. I don't know if that's possible. And a minimal disruption to the existing status of the research environment that's ongoing. And over here? >> Yes. Mark Wilson has written about the rather extensive lobbying that went on before the war and at the start of the war to make sure that defense production was concentrated in the private sector rather than the public sector. And one consequence of this was that we had a lot of conversion of existing industrial plants for defense production rather than construction of new perhaps government-owned plants for defense production or so is his argument. How does the research story that you're telling relate to this effort to make sure that what was produced resulting from this research was predominantly produced in the private sector? >> Daniel Else: First of all, I want to take a little bit of issue with the idea that the government didn't build a massive industrial base specifically for the war effort. They did. In fact, in fact, there was something called the Defense Plant Corporation that was created in the early 1940s to do exactly that. They would build a facility, they would build, they would stock it with all the necessary equipment, and then they would hire a private industry to come in and staff it. That's where you got the defense plants. That's where you got the defense workers who were not federal employees; they were private corporation employees. But the liability for the physical plant lay with the government, because they owned the place. Something like, something called Plant 42 out in Palmdale, California, which is, which was operated essentially by Lockheed Martin, the Skunk Works, that was a federally funded, federally built plant in the 1940s that was operated by a contractor over the years. So the idea that -- well, the reason for that lobbying effort was, after World War I, the War and Navy Departments cancelled outstanding war contracts. The armistice took everybody by surprise. We were just gearing up, there were massive numbers of contracts out there, civilian corporations had converted over to war production, and all of a sudden, the lights went out. And there were lawsuits for the liability of those cancelled contracts that extended well into World War II. So in order to avoid that, we had the defense plant corporation product, that scheme of approaching industrial production. You can kind of see some of the same thing in the OSRD organization in that they did it all by contract, and they contracted out to research centers at universities -- some in industry, but mostly at universities -- and if they needed a temporary sort of research center, it would be built. And then they would staff it from the university staffs. And so that was kind of the same model. And then, but after the war, most of those research centers went away, and they were replaced, as you saw, over the years, with other research centers dedicated to other purposes. Thank you very much. [ Applause ] >> This has been a presentation of the Library of Congress. Visit us at


Cities and towns in the district


"Barnstable County: Towns of Barnstable, Bourne, Brewster, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmonth, Harwich, Mashpee, Orleans, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Yarmouth. Bristol County: City of New Bedford; towns of Acushnet, Dartmouth, and Fairhaven. Plymouth County: Towns of Bridgewater, Carver, Duxbury, Halifax, Hanover, Hanson, Hingham, Hull, Kingston, Marion, Marshfield, Mattapoisett, Middleboro, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Rochester, Scituate, and Wareham. Norfolk County: Town of Cohasset. Dukes and Nantucket Counties."[1]

List of members representing the district

Representative Party Years Cong
Electoral history District location
District created March 3, 1803
Portrait of Samuel Thatcher.jpg

Samuel Thatcher
Federalist March 4, 1803 –
March 3, 1805
8th Redistricted from the 12th district and re-elected in 1802.
Lost re-election.
"Lincoln district," District of Maine
Orchard Cook Democratic-
March 4, 1805 –
March 3, 1811
Elected in 1804.
Re-elected in 1806.
Re-elected in 1808.
Peleg Tallman Democratic-
March 4, 1811 –
March 3, 1813
12th Elected in 1810.
Samuel Davis Federalist March 4, 1813 –
March 3, 1815
13th Elected in 1812.
Redistricted to the 19th district and lost re-election.
"3rd Eastern district," District of Maine
Benjamin Brown Federalist March 4, 1815 –
March 3, 1817
14th Elected in 1814.
Ran in the 18th district and lost re-election.
Benjamin Orr Federalist March 4, 1817 –
March 3, 1819
15th Elected in 1816.
Mark Langdon Hill Democratic-
March 4, 1819 –
March 3, 1821
16th [Data unknown/missing.]
District moved to Maine.
District moved to Maine March 3, 1821
District restored in Massachusetts March 3, 1913
Thacher 3120291463 fda290f83d o.jpg

Thomas Chandler Thacher
Democratic March 4, 1913 –
March 3, 1915
63rd [Data unknown/missing.]
Lost re-election.
Joseph Walsh (Massachusetts).jpg

Joseph Walsh
March 4, 1915 –
August 21, 1922

[Data unknown/missing.]
Resigned to become a justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court.
Vacant August 21, 1922 –
November 7, 1922
Charles L. Gifford (Massachusetts Congressman).jpg

Charles L. Gifford
Republican November 7, 1922 –
March 3, 1933
Elected to finish Walsh's term and to the next term.
Redistricted to the 15th district.
District eliminated March 3, 1933


  1. ^ "Massachusetts". Official Congressional Directory: 64th Congress (2nd ed.). Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1916.

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