Senior Honors Theses
History Department Honors Program

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

3-2022

Abstract

Throughout the early twentieth century, Anniston, Alabama was a stronghold of military-industrial power in the United States. Due to its beginnings as a planned, industrial city, Anniston easily attracted formidable capital in the soil pipe, textile, and chemical industries, sparking economic and infrastructural development. Concurrently, the establishment of Fort McClellan and the Anniston Army Depot by the United States Army fused the manufacturing powers of the region with the Army's military conquests. Throughout WWI, WWII, and the Cold War years, military brigades such as the Women’s Army Corps, Military Police Corps, and Army Chemical Corps trained at McClellan, infusing the local economy with capital through job creation, contracts to local companies, and money spent off-base. Confounding phenomena of U.S. military deescalation in the late Cold War era, deindustrialization in the American manufacturing sector, and the increasingly technological orientation of global warmaking rendered much of Anniston's economy obsolete by the early 1970s. Despite wide-ranging activism from local boosters and politicians, the end of the twentieth century in Anniston would be marked by factory closings and military downsizing, culminating in the shuttering of Fort McClellan by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 1995. This thesis seeks to follow how the military, private corporations, governing bodies, and everyday Americans in Anniston interacted in a political economy driven by capitalist profit incentives and a military industrialism. It seeks, ultimately, to trace Anniston's tumultuous history in order to understand the impacts of the military-industrial complex on everyday American life in the twentieth century.

Keywords

military-industrial complex, base realignment and closure commission, cold war, alabama, chemical weapons, united states army, fort mcclellan, deindustrialization

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Date Posted:28 March 2022