LABOR: That Man Again

Two weeks before the Japs struck Pearl Harbor, the nation's defense industries were just recovering from near-paralysis; its key coal mines had been strike-shut. Last week, at another uncertain moment in history, some U.S. citizens rubbed their eyes. Were they dreaming, or were the country's mines shut again?

Familiar voices repeated an old and threadbare lie—the miners were merely on a vacation. But almost every one of 400,000 soft-coal miners had left the pits. Blast furnaces had begun to shut down. An anxious government ordered railroads to cut their coal-burning passenger service by 25%. These were the first signs of...

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