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The Contribution of Economists to Military Intelligence During World War II


Economists played a crucial role in military intelligence during World War II. Economists working at the Office of Strategic Services estimated enemy battle casualties, analyzed the intentions and capabilities of both enemies and allies, and helped to prepare for negotiations regarding the postwar settlement. Economists working at the Enemy Objectives Unit helped to select enemy targets for bombing. Finally, economists working at the Statistical Research Group worked on a variety of problems brought to them by the U.S. military services. As a consequence of their usefulness during the war, the military continued to employ economists after the war.

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Carol S. Carson “The History of the United States National Income and Product Accounts: The Development of an Analytical Tool.” Review of Income and Wealth 21 (1975): 153–81.

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Barry M. Katz Foreign Intelligence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989.

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Kenneth P. Werrell “The Strategic Bombing of Germany in World War II: Costs and Accomplishments.” The Journal of American History 73, no. 2 (December 1986): 702–13.

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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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