A documentary titled 'Boomtown DC', a part of 'This is America' series, compares Washington DC to an industrial boomtown where the big business is government. 1930's and 1940's cars parked along a tree-lined street in a Washington DC neighborhood with homes visible. A cat jumps down from a wall behind a neighborhood home, with the U.S. Capitol seen in the background. Scene changes to U.S. Capitol building exterior close up. Close up views of souvenir stand trinkets in Washington DC, including banners, snow globes, and postcards of buildings and monuments of the city. View on the National Mall in Washington DC toward the Lincoln Memorial, interrupted by temporary wartime elevated walkways erected between buildings of the rapidly expanding Navy Department on either side of the National Mall. Smoke stacks from the chimneys of a factory superimposed over various images of buildings in the city. A woman exiting a voting booth, followed by a man entering the same voting booth and closing the curtain. A US Army guard standing outside the White House. Exterior of the newly built Pentagon War Department building in Arlington Virginia. Sign "War Department" on the War Department building at 21st and Virginia Avenues. Exterior view of a Navy Department building, then exterior view of the Treasury Department building. Close up view of hands holding and flipping through a stack of IRS individual tax return documents, then of hands sorting through a stack of U.S. government bonds. View of the Justice Department, and then view of sign on the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Scientists in a laboratory operate various equipment and run tests. A scientist near some beakers and test tubes in the lab. Scientists look through microscopes. View of underground rifle range in the FBI building as personnel practice marksmanship. View toward shooters on the range during firing, and toward targets. US Army guard in front of the State Department building. Exterior view of the Department of Labor building and sign. View of the U.S. Office of War Information building (OWI) with sign "US Information" inscribed in large letters on the top of the building (possibly the "Temporary V Building" of the OWI?) Exterior view of the Supreme Court Building. View of Declaration of Independence document on display. Exerior view of U.S. Capitol, then view of House of Representatives in session. U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt seated at a desk signs a document. Citizens and workers walking on streets of Washington DC. Sopme people enter the Department of Agriculture building. Men and women enter the Office of War Information. Civilian and military hats being hung on a hat rack. Hand reaches for a 1940's era telephone. Women filing papers, views of filing cabinets. Close-up of 1940s era typewriters in use.
The first Selective Service lottery conducted in Washington, DC, on October 29, 1940, in the United States. An American Legion member, in uniform, poses with Mrs. Robert Bell and her son and a young woman (her daughter?) after her son's draft number (158) had been the first one drawn in the Washington DC Lottery. Dr. Baxter talks with Mrs. Bell and asks why she exclaimed out loud when the first number was drawn. Dr. Baxter gives her the capsule in which her son's draft number was contained. Views of the audience at the The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, where the lottery was being conducted.
A documentary depicts activities of U.S. Department of War workers in the United States during World War 2. Scenes of various 1940's clocks on bedside tables. War department workers wake up with the alarms. They get ready for work. Cars passing on the streets of Washington DC. Buildings along the sides of the street. People lined up waiting for public conveyance. A bus arrives. Bus and car traffic on the "Highway Bridge" over the Potomac River toward Arlington Virginia. (The Highway Bridge, a swing-span through-truss bridge, was part of the 14th Street Bridge complex over the years. It was eventually replaced by the George Mason Memorial Bridge, and in 1967 the Highway Bridge was removed and taken to the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren Virginia, to be used for bombing practice). View of the newly built Pentagon War Department building in Arlington Virginia, and views of large parking lots at the Pentagon filled with cars. Workers walking inside the Pentagon building corridors. A line of women seated and working at telephone switchboards in the Pentagon, and consulting an updated telephone directory. A sign at the door of a room reads 'Security Office, Identification Section'. A woman goes inside. Woman named 'Phyllis Hood' gets her identification card and finger prints for her identification in the office. She is seen taking an oath. Hood working at her desk. She files statistical reports. Exteriors of various Washington DC buildings being guarded by United States Army personnel for the Military District of Washington during World War II. A covered anti-aircraft gun installation in Washington DC is shown opening as US Army soldiers take up positions to use the artillery during practice drills. A guard standing outside the White House building.
President Franklin Roosevelt in his office in Washington DC. He is seated at his desk and signs the draft bill (Selective Service and Training Act of 1940, or STSA) which was the first peacetime conscription in United States history. Officials and cabinet members standing nearby. Painting on a wall in the background. He reads the conditions of bill. He states that the legislation intended to increase our armed forces becomes law. All men between 21 and 35 must register beginning October 16th, 1940. He says that "the terrible fate of nations whose weakness invited attack is too well known to us all. We must and we will marshal our great potential strength to fend off war from our shores. We must and we will prevent our land from becoming a victim of aggression."
U.S. mail trucks delivering many bags of mail to the White House, Washington, DC, on the occasion of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Birthday, January 30, 1940. Inside, stacks of letters are seen and women sort through them and empty coins from many of them. (These are contributions to the March of Dimes Campaign to fight Polio, instituted by President Roosevelt in 1938.) A huge birthday cake is also seen and men shown carrying it into the White House. Camera focuses again on the stacks of letters and coins. Several open letters contain dollar bills, as well. Mail carriers continue to bring in and empty mail bags.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt explains the Peacetime Selective Service Lottery to the nation from a microphone in the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, Washington, DC, where members of the government gather to witness the first drawing of numbers under the Selective Service Act 1940.