During WWI there were a tremendous amount of people from all around the country overseas. They were battling in trenches, in the air, and in the water. However, some would question how was all of this fighting possible. People who were not directly fighting in the war began devolving manufacturing plants for all the required supplies for The Great War. One of the largest manufacturing plants of weapons was actually in Bridgeport, Connecticut, specifically Bridgeport Remington Arms.
Prior to the war, Bridgeport was a prime location for industrialization and the U.S war movement capitalized on it. When the war started in 1914 Bridgeport was used to produce weapons, even before the U.S entered in 1917. They still provided materials to the allies and many of these resources came from Bridgeport. Bridgeport provided around thirty million magazines per week for the Remington-Enfield model 1917, which was the most popular weapon used in the war. This massive plant was located on Boston Avenue and employed twelve thousand people. They also manufactured other common guns such as the colt 1911, Trench shotguns, and machine guns. These massive plants were also surrounded by guards to prevent sabotage by possible German spies, after 1917.
All of this protection in Bridgeport produced the number of war supplies is about fifty percent of all production in the U.S. Bridgeport offered this much supply into the war was that workers could possibly go on strike and cause a major lack of production. This happened when workers wanted an eight-hour workday. Bridgeport also had a strong push for women’s suffrage. The reason for this was that since the town was in the eye of the government they would have a better chance of gaining traction in their movement. The women would work in the factories to try and further prove their point, and eventually, the president granted them suffrage in 1920. Bridgeport in WWI is a town rich with history and is sometimes forgotten.
Bridgeport was such a heavy provider and without it, the war could have been completely different. I next want to explore more of the work conditions of Bridgeport and compare them to today’s standards. I also want to discover who worked there and if anyone from Suffield or even my family moved to that location to help serve the cause. These people did not directly fight in the war but did make a positive impact in the war effort.
- This first source gave me an idea on how Bridgeport functioned and how they were one of the most import towns in Connecticut. https://connecticuthistory.org/topics-page/world-war-i/
- This second source was a good research point for the work conditions and the women involved in the factories. https://library.ccsu.edu/dighistFall16/exhibits/show/firearm-manufacturing-ct-wwi/workingconditionsinctfactories
- This last source gave me the most information and was my primary use of information. It gave Bridgeport a lot of credit with its factories and really celebrates the town as Connecticut’s most important. https://ctexplored.org/world-war-i-centennial/