America Enters World War II
“I do not know where this country would have been after December 7, 1941, if it had not had the ships and the know how to build more ships fast, for which one Vinson bill after another was responsible.”
Editor's Note: On December 7th, 1941, Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, resulting in over 3,000 casualties. Vinson was at his home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, when he first found out about the attacks. Over the next few days, Vinson conferred with top military and White House officials regarding how to prepare for war.
The Pacific Fleet incurred significant damage because of the attacks; however, due to the numerous measures Vinson had helped guide through the legislature, the United States had the resources and foundation needed to recover from the tragedy. Following Pearl Harbor, several top naval officials, such as Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz in the excerpt above, recognized the significance of Vinson's work. By stressing the policy of military preparedness, Vinson helped ensure the United States was in a position to mobilize for war following Pearl Harbor.
Vinson's insistence on military expansion had a significant economic impact on the nation and specifically, the state of Georgia. During the war, over 90% of the workforce on Georgia military installations were civilians and the expansion of the military brought over 20,000 jobs to local communities in Georgia.