The contribution of Lombard industry to the war of 1914-1918 took various forms. Since this was the first war where science and technology played a strategic role, the war effort involved Lombard scientific and educational institutions, in particular the Politecnico, which housed the National Scientific and Technological Committee for the development of Italian industry and co-operated with the National Board for the examination of inventions concerning war materials. In industry itself the mobilization of most male workers and the demand of the armed forces for weapons, ammunitions, vehicles and machines of different sorts, led to a rapid absorption of unemployment and to the entry of considerable numbers of unskilled workers – soldiers, women and minors – into factories. Female employment rose to 25 to 30% of the total work force in Lombardy. This created strong tensions in workplaces and problems in term of decreasing productivity, problems that experts and institutions governing the “Industrial Mobilization” apparatus tried to solve also by introducing more advanced manufacturing systems, beside an almost military discipline imposed in the 550 plants involved in war production. The branches most closely affected were iron and steel production, mechanics, aeronautics, electricity. The war economy benefited in particular middle-sized and big companies, like Breda, whose work force rose to 8,200 employees, Edison in electricity, Caproni and Nieuport-Macchi in the production of aircraft, etc. The huge pressure coming from the military demand involved also small enterprises as subsuppliers, and workers at home to producing clothing for the army. All in all, the war strengthened the already existing Lombard supremacy in the Italian industrial sector.
|Titolo tradotto del contributo||[Autom. eng. transl.] The working army. The Lombard industry and the war 1914-1918|
|Numero di pagine||26|
|Rivista||ARCHIVIO STORICO LOMBARDO|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2015|
- War economy
- World War I