An Appeciation of Felix Salmon
Department of "Huh?!"

Liveblogging World War II: March 1, 1941

Andrew Glass:

Truman Committee formed March 1, 1941 - Andrew Glass - On this day in 1941, the Senate by unanimous consent created a special investigative committee charged with stamping out waste, corruption and profiteering in the U.S. defense industry, which had moved into high gear as World War II swept across Europe. Harry Truman, a Missouri Democrat, was chosen by the Senate as chairman of the committee. Truman conceived the idea for the panel soon after completing a 10,000-mile inspection tour of military bases. During his trip, Truman found repeated instances of contractors being paid set fees regardless of performance and that certain firms were receiving more than their fair share of contracts.

Senior military officials voiced their opposition to President Franklin Roosevelt. Reaching back in history, they cited the problems caused during the Civil War by the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. Capitol Hill leaders, however, convinced Roosevelt that Truman was a reliable sort and, moreover, could not do too much damage with a committee budget of $15,000.