From smoking to skin care, advertisers rushed to identify their products with the war effort once the United States entered World War II. Using the war to pitch products was not the only way American businesses benefited from their association with the conflict. Although the government managed and regulated the wartime economy, it often did so to the benefit of large companies. The top 100 companies turned out 30 percent of the nation’s manufactured goods in 1940; by war’s end, those same companies held 70 percent of all civilian and military contracts. Business executives sat in many of the key posts of war production agencies, serving as “dollar-a-year-men” while remaining on their company payrolls, and the government suspended antitrust laws and paid most of the cost of constructing new defense plants.
Source: McCall’s, August 1942—American Social History Project.