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Impact of War on Federal Personnel Administration

1939–1945

World War II made enormous and unprecedented demands upon the nation's civil service administration. The task of recruiting millions of new employees of almost every skill in the midst of military and industrial drains upon manpower and the necessity of maintaining efficiency and morale jarred personnel agencies loose from peacetime routine. Both the older establishments such as the War and Navy departments and the new war service agencies such as the Office of Price Administration were affected. Gladys M. Kammerer believes that the war effort would have been seriously hampered had not the Civil Service Commission, in spite of obstacles, managed to retain control of this vast expansion.

During 1944 and 1945, Kammerer was able to examine in person the manpower operations of the Civil Service Commission and of four executive agencies: War, Navy, Agriculture, and OPA. Her study is based on observations made at this time, upon interviews with staff members, and upon Civil Service Commission records. Especially significant are her evaluations of changes, good and bad, which war brought to personnel administration and an analysis of their effect upon postwar policies and organization.

About the Author

Gladys M. Kammerer is associate professor of political science at the University of Kentucky.

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