The historiography of US labor during the Second World War has shifted away from New Left concerns with the fate of working-class militancy, becoming more attuned instead to the structure and development of the New Deal order. A quarter century ago, historians debated the extent to which the warfare state had emasculated working-class radicalism and constructed in its place a bureaucratized, corporate-liberal labor movement. Few scholars doubted that trade unions were a fixed and permanent feature of the postwar political economy. But in the decades following the presidency of Ronald Reagan, when the legal, ideological, and economic structures sustaining the institutional union movement are so weak, the agenda of most historians and social scientists has shifted to one that problematizes the rise, consolidation, and postwar devolution of the mid-century New Deal settlement. For US labor and other popular social movements, World War Two had a dichotomous character. In both politics and policy, war-era corporatist structures failed to win lasting institutional expressions, either during the war or in the decades following 1945. There was no “labor-management accord,” although labor's strength did generate a kind of armed truce in key oligopolistic sectors of the economy. Anti-New-Deal conservatives in Congress and the corporate hierarchy sought, above all, to divorce industrial relations issues from the larger political universe. This was the meaning of “free” collective bargaining in the years after 1947. But during the war and reconversion years right afterward, elite power at the top of the mobilization apparatus was repeatedly challenged by insurgencies from below that sought to take advantage of the unprecedented demand for labor while at the same time actualizing the pluralist, social-patriotic ethos that was the quasi-official ideology of the World War Two home front. These social movements were a dialectical product of the mobilizing bureaucracies—the War Labor Board, the Fair Employment Practice Com- mission, and the Office of Price Administration—that were among the most remarkable features of the wartime New Deal. Indeed, this increasingly contentious juxtaposition between a state apparatus drifting rightward and a well-organized working class represents the great paradox of the war, a dichotomy that would be resolved in the postwar years by a rapid, politically brutal divorce between popular aspirations and the state policies needed to fulfill them.