(A copyrighted publication of West Virginia Archives and History)
Volume 55 Senator Harley M. Kilgore and Japan's World War II Business Practices
By Robert F. Maddox
Volume 55 (1996), pp. 127-142
In the middle of October1942, the Senate authorized Kilgore to investigate technological mobilization as chair of a special subcommittee of the Military Affairs Committee.10 This subcommittee evolved into the Subcommittee of War Mobilization of the Military Affairs Committee, which became known as the Kilgore Committee. In early 1943, the committee was charged with the responsibility of examining a Kilgore bill to establish an Office of War Mobilization. The pressure from the supporters of the proposed legislation forced the Roosevelt administration to establish the office in May 1943 before Congress could pass the bill.11 The committee's investigations into mobilization led to the examination of international cartels and World War II. Its hearings on scientific and technical mobilization produced by war's end a liberal proposal which provided for the establishment of a national science foundation.12
By early 1944, Kilgore was convinced that if international cartel agreements had been investigated before 1936, the United States would have had a more realistic view of the international situation.13 The committee devoted much attention to the impact of cartels in the development of the German military machine.14 However, it was the startling testimony on the use of business relationships by Japan to further its militaristic policies that was most revealing to the Kilgore Committee.